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G's Story: Rising above the odds

Read about G overcoming so much and his foster carers supporting him in every way possible.

G was 6 years old and already in foster care with his sister when we first heard about him. On paper it painted a picture of a child with Epilepsy, global development delay and some issues around behaviour which didn’t bother us in the slightest. I was so excited, and I couldn’t wait to meet him.

The first thing we did was to arrange a meeting with his current foster carers to find out about his likes and dislikes, etc. This meeting was very informative but extremely sad. I just had an overriding feeling that they’d given up on him and he was only 6. We were his fourth set of foster carers in twelve months!

I knew he loved dinosaurs, so we bought dinosaur bedding, a soft dinosaur was sitting on his bed and we bought some books, jigsaws, playdough and paints. I felt if I kept him busy, he wouldn’t think too much about his loss.

We did the usual meetings beforehand and then he moved in.

When I think back to that frightened little boy and see the happy, loving, funny, caring boy now, it makes me realise how far he’s come and how much he’s improved.

At the beginning, he was always a happy child, always singing and he’s still the same now but four years ago his speech was quite poor, and this caused lots of frustration. He screamed constantly because he couldn’t communicate his needs. He had terrible nightmares every night, he was terrified of the dark and still is (he still won’t get out of bed at night, to use the toilet for example). I was grateful in the early days for the regular phone calls from my supervising social worker just checking to see how we were doing.

When I look back on those early days, I think the unpredictability of his behaviour was the most challenging. We soon learnt not to raise our voice at all around him as this was definitely a trigger. The training on attachment was very useful too because it made me realise why he was behaving like he was.

I then discovered Therapeutic Parenting, and this was exactly what this boy needed. I bought every book I could on the subject and joined The National Association of Therapeutic Parents. It actually works! I was doing this anyway but understanding the theory behind it really helped. Don’t get me wrong it is not a quick fix by any means, but we have seen brilliant results. I am so amazingly proud of how much our little man has progressed. We took things back to basics and used lots of nurture in those early months. We gave him a baby’s bottle and sat him on our knee as you would a newborn baby. We fed him his food as you would a baby and rocked him on our knee wrapped in a blanket. He gradually relaxed and became less hypervigilant. He needed those experiences he had missed out on.

His Epilepsy wasn’t an issue at first, he only experienced a few absent seizures in the first year. However, as time went on the seizures began happening more often and were more severe.

After a year it became clear that G was really struggling at school and at home. He was attending a special school and his behaviour was deteriorating. He was becoming more and more violent. His rages were absolutely terrifying. He could not remember anything about them afterwards and felt distraught at what he’d done. My supervising social worker at the time was amazing in supporting us through this period. CAMHS were involved and our little man was diagnosed with a severe learning disability and sensory processing difficulties.

In 2018, my daughter had lots of health problems and was struggling to look after her two-year-old daughter, so we decided to move to be close to her. This meant finding a new school for G. We had informed our child’s social worker in the previous July of our intentions to move at the beginning of 2019. I want to remain professional here and just say that we have had lots of problems with our little man’s social workers. They have been a big challenge that quite frankly we could have done without (5 social workers in a year!). Thank goodness for Capstone, our wonderful supervising social worker was a tremendous support at this time.

G was out of education for 4 months as we all fought to get him a place, but I have to say that the school he is now in is absolutely outstanding and he has progressed so much.

We have been here for almost two years now and the first year was good. We settled in and involved our little man in the move every step of the way. I had lots of support from my daughter and G and my granddaughter adore each other. We saw each other frequently and went out every week to give the children quality experiences. 

During the latter part of 2019 G’s seizures began to increase dramatically. He was having 2-3 seizures a day and one resulted in a trip to A&E as he fell whilst having a seizure and split his head open. Frequent trips to the hospital and the seizures are finally under control. He is now on three lots of medication which slows down the brain. Not what we wanted but at least the seizures are happening less frequently. The Children’s Hospital have been absolutely amazing.

G never complains bless him and takes his medication so well. He loves football but his medication makes him tired and his reactions are slow, but he tries his hardest to keep up with the others. He is constantly worn out. He is such a lovely boy and we haven’t had a meltdown in months.

He is beginning to self-regulate himself and is now able to tell us how he feels. Which is an amazing achievement.

From the start, we have had additional traumatic and stressful family issues to deal with which has been hard. All through we have been supported by our latest supervising social worker. She has been amazing at letting me vent any time of the day.

The highlights have been that he is the happiest child I have ever come across.

He sings as soon as he wakes up in the morning. He sings when he goes to bed. He is always dancing. He is constantly making us laugh and I mean constantly. He is so amazingly gifted at making models from clay and playdough. He loves music and has a set of drums. The sheer delight on his face when we take him anywhere or buy him anything keeps me going for days. He is so caring and kind.

B & S, Foster Carers

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