17 June 2019
In summer 2018, eight-year-old Hermann was referred to Hounslow CAMHS Intellectual Disability Team by a Consultant Paediatrician at the Hounslow Child Development Team over concerns around his mood and change in behaviour, loss of confidence and anxiety. This was triggered further when Hermann recently developed a distressing phobia of flying insects.
At the CAMHS assessment, observations of Hermann revealed a lack of clarity around what caused the onset of his phobia but the significant impact it had on his daily life was clear. Every time he would see one, it would cause him to run away and hide, complain of tiredness and request that all windows are closed – regardless of where he was. If outside and Hermann encountered a flying insect he would often wish to go home, even if he was enjoying himself just seconds before.
Hermann had also lost confidence at school and took to whispering. This may have been caused by a dislike of loud noises, possibly initiated, or worsened, by a faulty hearing aid. As a result, he was described as ‘less joyful’ and it was agreed for him to pursue individual sessions, exploring these difficulties further.
Hermann has Trisomy 21 (Down’s syndrome). He has hearing impairment and wears a hearing aid. Adding this to his anxieties and loss of confidence, Hermann struggled as he began the process of transitioning from a mainstream school to a special school.
At Hounslow CAMHS, Hermann was offered five individual therapy sessions, using a graded approach, to support him in tackling his phobia and anxieties. As a result, he gradually overcame his fear of insects and has built up his confidence. Hermann’s mother was very understanding and supportive of the process – encouraging and reassuring him while also providing him with opportunities as advised by his therapists. If he sees a flying insect today, his coping statement is ‘I am brave’.
Most recently, Hermann featured in his school’s video which has become a hit on YouTube. So much so, it received recognition from Channel 5 News. More significantly, the videos show how far he has come in developing his confidence. He now takes up dance classes which incorporates elements of yoga and mindfulness, easing the stress and anxiety he had before.
Hermann and his mum are hugely appreciative that Hounslow CAMHS have been able to help them as the eight-year-old boy continues to grow. Watch this space for our budding star!