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We have been offered a consultation with CAMHs to discuss our 7 year old sons needs. We had him referred as we suspect he has ADHD. Our SW is also querying whether he may have FAS an our GP said he also shows signs of ASD.


We have had our son home for 6 months and there was a mention of ADHD and possible dyspraxia in his reports but his paediatrician put it down to his past and discharged him so we didn't think we would have much of an issue. He also had an EHCP with 22 hours 1:1 and we were told this would probably be lost as he was making such good progress.


How wrong they were. His new school have been fantastic and it was their suggestion to refer to CAMHs as they suspect he has ADHD, DCD. They have also had his EHCP increased to 32 hours, have got a private SaLT in to see him and an EP also sees him at school.


Anyway, my question is what do I ask these people. What should I be telling them to get him the help he needs? Are there too many professionals involved already? We have never dealt with anything like this before and his SW is almost useless and I suspect that she won't be at the appointment even though she has been invited.


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Don't know what you should tell them but whatever information you give I would give in written form also, keeping a copy for yourself so you are clear they have all relevant information. Otherwise you run the risk of them minimising the problems.


CAMHS were clueless with our daughter but that was quite a few years back. If you're very fortunate they might be better in your area .His past is likely to have a huge impact on him and if professionals begin to tell you he just needs love and consistency you need to consider this is the cheapest option for them.


You are probably going to need to learn to fight to get him what he needs. There is the possibility too that SWs might have knowingly omitted information from their paperwork or may have made judgements about his needs or background that they are ill qualified to make.


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Appears typical, the first thing you need to know is what his problems are, A thinks this, B thinks that, that's not very helpfull. No point in starting therapy if it is unsure what the root of his problems are. A child with fasd needs a different approach than a child with adhd or asd. So what you need is a diagnosis. He needs to be tested to confirm or exclude those disorders including learning disabilities. That's the way to go in my opinion.


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It might depend on who does what in your area. Camhs sometimes diagnose ASD, sometimes paeds. Sometimes all diagnoses go to a panel of profs.


I always put all my concerns along with background in writing and make sure they receive it beforehand. You really don't want to be discussing birth family failings in front of your child. Always ask to see prof without your child to start with so they can understand your concerns.


If he's having that much support in school then I'd be less than thrilled about placing authority's complacency, ignorance, fudging of the facts.


It sounds like he needs a full assessment of what's going on for him. My daughters paed said that when there are so many crossovers in behaviours then it would be foolish to discount fasd. You're not necessarily going to be told. Do you know if there are siblings? Do they have any diagnoses?


Our camhs experience isn't great. They seem to always assume adoption = attachment and are loathe (too lazy?) to consider anything else as they don't like to 'label' a child. Hmmmmm.


Interestingly one of the speakers at the AUK conference this weekend said that in his view camhs are currently around 30 years behind in their thinking about adopted children and their needs. Pretty scary really.


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Have had a good experience of CAMHS (and just posted about part of it, related to ADHD medication). I've taken a different approach to diagnosis. I spent a long trying reading and re-reading the symptoms of ASD, ADHD, ODD, sensory processing disorder etc etc. Many overlap and it's really hard. I decided in the end that there would never be a definitive diagnosis for my very complex child and what mattered was ensuring the right support. I've been very singleminded about this, securing first a SEN statement based on attachment disorder, and now an EHCP that includes specific learning difficulties (I gave up on the local EP service and finally paid for this myself - turned out to be worth every penny), anxiety, sensory processing and developmental trauma..... which means that AD now goes to a specialist senior school where (fingers crossed) she is happy.


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I would write down everything that concerns you - and also others - including all the previous medical , psychology and school interventions and opinions of others. Have it with you so you make sure you make all the necessary points. Give them any reports you have but still go over the main findings in case they do not read these. Having some idea of any support you need is useful too and making sure there will be a follow up appointment. ADHD is not usually diagnosed immediately as information / assessment forms need to be completed so there should be a follow up. And if ADHD is diagnosed it doesn't mean he would not be eligible for therapeutic interventions too


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I don't know how your CAMHS works but here there is an initial appointment and they then send you to the clinical area which they think is most likely to cover the suspected root problem for an assessment. So for example if you present with lots of information about ADHD, and they accept this, they are likely to pass you to a psychiatrist, as it is psychiatrists that handle ADHD (because of the prescribing and monitoring of the meds). So you then might get a very 'biased' assessment as you are seeing someone who deals in ADHD and believes in the meds and that person might not consider other possibilities and you could waste an opportunity.


So, I would say not to focus in on any 'pet' theory, despite what anyone is suggesting to you. Mention them, but say that you are keeping your options open and let the professional at CAMHS come up with some ideas which hopefully will be most appropriate.


Check if CAMHS want your son present and if so, think about taking someone with you who can take your child outside for say ten minutes while you have a private chat - they can ask some quite intrusive questions. It can be very helpful for them to see the child of course and it may be that they are expecting this.


I would also say that you should be quite clear about what your local CAMHS covers. Will they assess for/diagnose things like FASD? Sometimes you need to see a paediatrician for that. You might also like to try for genetic testing, which is a different team altogether (I think you can get referred by your GP but I'm not sure about that). You may find out that the birth family has a chromosome deletion which is related to learning difficulties for example (that's what happened eventually for us).


Also, is he seeing an OT? A Speech and Language therapist? These are likely to be useful support services but I doubt you would get that from CAMHS.


Good luck.


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I don't know how your CAMHS works but here there is an initial appointment and they then send you to the clinical area which they think is most likely to cover the suspected root problem for an assessment. So for example if you present with lots of information about ADHD, and they accept this, they are likely to pass you to a psychiatrist, as it is psychiatrists that handle ADHD (because of the prescribing and monitoring of the meds). So you then might get a very 'biased' assessment as you are seeing someone who deals in ADHD and believes in the meds and that person might not consider other possibilities and you could waste an opportunity.


So, I would say not to focus in on any 'pet' theory, despite what anyone is suggesting to you. Mention them, but say that you are keeping your options open and let the professional at CAMHS come up with some ideas which hopefully will be most appropriate.


Check if CAMHS want your son present and if so, think about taking someone with you who can take your child outside for say ten minutes while you have a private chat - they can ask some quite intrusive questions. It can be very helpful for them to see the child of course and it may be that they are expecting this.


I would also say that you should be quite clear about what your local CAMHS covers. Will they assess for/diagnose things like FASD? Sometimes you need to see a paediatrician for that. You might also like to try for genetic testing, which is a different team altogether (I think you can get referred by your GP but I'm not sure about that). You may find out that the birth family has a chromosome deletion which is related to learning difficulties for example (that's what happened eventually for us).


Also, is he seeing an OT? A Speech and Language therapist? These are likely to be useful support services but I doubt you would get that from CAMHS.


Good luck.


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Thanks for all your comments, I will make sure I write everything down. The appt is just a meeting for all the adults involved in his care so we will have someone from school to represent him and his sw has been invited but I doubt she will attend. He is seeing a speech and language therapist at school (they have brought one in privately for him as NHS wait is too long) and also an educational psychologist so hopefully school will provide lots of info on that. I don't think we are looking at just one thing with him, I think we might be looking at lots of different things that all blend into each other.


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All really good comments so far. I think you are absolutely right. Your DS sounds like a very complex little lad. I would say I looked up a lot of symptoms of the conditions that had been mentioned to us and this gave me a clearer idea of what our DS and DD's complex needs were. I would say that I was quite relieved that CAMHs did eventually accept my suggestion that they both had ADHD rather than just putting everything down to attachment disorder. Once we had accepted that and got the correct medication for each child we were then much better able to see other things that we hadn't noticed before. The other thing is that as we have gone on and the children have developed and matured different things have become much clearer like DD's social problems and her eventual diagnosis of ASD. I would say that it's a great idea to have some notes written down. I have found that these multi agency meetings tend to start with us giving a history of where our children are to date and then the other agencies come in so it's great to have a really good idea as to what you are trying to achieve and do ask for as much help as possible. This is a great opportunity, your son's school really seem to be on your side.

Good luck with it all


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