'I'm Afraid of My Own Child' Brave Mum Leanne Maloney Has Opened the Doors of Her Home to Television Cameras to Show What Life Is like Living with a Son with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Cathy Owen Spoke to Her

South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), April 19, 2010 | Go to article overview

'I'm Afraid of My Own Child' Brave Mum Leanne Maloney Has Opened the Doors of Her Home to Television Cameras to Show What Life Is like Living with a Son with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Cathy Owen Spoke to Her


Byline: Cathy Owen

LEANNE Maloney loves her son but that doesn't stop her being scared of him. During his tantrums, seven-year-old Alex has broken her nose, regularly kicks and thumps her and she despairs about his future.

Themother-of-twowas at her wits end after hewas diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and feels she was left with medication to give him but very little support.

Leanne first realised there was something wrong with her eldest child when he was three.

Eighteen months ago he was diagnosed as having ADHD.

But there is concern about a lack of provision for parents like Leanne with children who have the condition in their hometown of Merthyr Tydfil.

"Alex has always been a bit of a naughty child," explains Leanne, 24, who lives on the Gurnos with Alex and his younger brother Callum.

"Hehadtantrumslikeanyother child butwhenhe wasthree-and-a-halfIrealisedhewasnaughtier than other children and he would be randomly lashing out. He would have no fear, and do things like jump fromthe top of the bunk-bed and just laugh his head off. That was when I first went to the GP."

Alex'sstoryandtheimpacthis conditionhasonthe family is being shown tonight in a television documentarythat looks atalackofprovision in Merthyr Tydfil for children with the condition.

Local GP Professor Jonathan Richards is warning that NHS resources are so stretched in the community that it is onlyamatter oftimebeforechildren diagnosed with behavioural problems become involved in a tragedy.

"We're hanging on by the skin of our teeth and it wouldn't surprise me if we have some kind of catastrophe or disaster in our community in the years to come because there are so many families who are struggling with deprivation andstruggling with childrenwithbehaviour problems," says Professor Richards.

"Whenever I see a catastrophe happening in anothercommunityIwonderif Merthyr going to be next."

Single mum Leanne admits living with the condition is difficult and is speaking out about her experiences to let people knowwhat it is like.

"Hecanbeviolent.He'sbrokenmy nose, he's broken his father's nose andIamafraid ofmyownchild,"she says.

"He should be out playing with his friends and living a life that a seven-year-old child should be living.

But he's got no friends and theparents ofthepeoplethathe does try to be friends with tell them, 'Don't bother with Alex, he's a naughty child'.

Some people call him 'Damien' and say he is a devil child. But he can also be such a loving child, it is just when he throws one of his strops, there isnogetting him out of it. It makes me feel like such a failure in so many ways.

"One of the turning points came when he stood in front of a car and told me not to save him."

Alex has been on medication to counteract the symptoms of ADHD and also takes sleeping tablets at But the effects of the drugs start to wear six or sevenmonths and he has to be given dose. night. ear off after en a higher as Because of this Leanne sees the medication being a short term solution and is really concerned about her son's future.

"All I can see is Alex in10years time still tablets and out pinching cars and being That's not what I want for him," she says. on these a thief.

"The drugs do calm him downabit but he have his tantrums. …

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