Sarah's mum and step-dad have complex health needs which was making it difficult for them to cope with Sarah's behaviour.

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Her mum has fibromyalgia and hypermobility in her joints which leads her to be in bed a lot due to pain and she has to use crutches to walk. She’s suffered from depression for many years, which is tied into her physical health, and over the past two years her weight has increased a lot, adding pressure to her mental health. Sarah’s step-dad has a head injury, which has led to cognitive impairment.

Sarah, then 6, had frequent outbursts and appeared to have an obsession with the game Minecraft, to the point whereby she would feign illness during the day to get home early from school to play it. It was also badly affecting her sleeping pattern.

Their GP thought Sarah’s obsessive behaviour and outbursts could be due to undiagnosed autism, so she was referred to a specialist hospital for tests. The family was also referred to their local family well-being project, run by Action for Children, as it was hoped parental support could help influence Sarah’s behaviour and sleep patterns. 

Her mum and step-dad were given guidance on positive parenting and creating routines, as well as practical help with their benefits and budgeting.

Sarah's parents also felt that she wasnt being properly supported in school so we provided support for getting Sarah into a new school as well as attending all her hospital appointments.

When Sarah was eventually diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, her parents were relieved to finally find out the root cause of her behaviour. We also signposted the family to The Autism Society and to Lifelink so her mum could get support for her mental health issues.

Her mum’s mental health has stabilised and she feels more confident about dealing with issues, but recognises it’s an ongoing process.

With the routines and charts now in place, Sarah’s mum and step-dad are able to handle her outbursts a lot better and to talk her down while staying calm - she has her own room now and is enjoying having her own space and loves having routines.

 

Sarah is now at her new school and is happy and being supported well in class, which is a huge relief for her parents. She’s able to express herself and be who she is without getting into trouble for her behaviour.