A mother’s instinct is a powerful thing. From the moment you first hold your baby in your arms, you invest more time and energy in understanding your child’s needs, wants and mannerisms than with anything else you have ever done. As much as this innate skill is a blessing and bolsters closeness with your child, when you know there is something wrong and no one will take you seriously, a mother’s instinct can be an impossible thing to shake off.
At seven years old, having spent four years looking for verification that there was something wrong with her son Dominic, Breda broke down in a release of pent-up emotion at finally having someone take her seriously and explore her suspicions that he was suffering from more than just the absence of a father, poor diet or any one of the other ‘fixes’ thrown at her over the years.
Born early, and weighing in at only 5lb 14oz, Dominic soon caught up and was a thriving toddler, with a real lust for life. At two years old, as with all children of his age, he was given the combined MMR jab. Unlike most others, however, he shortly after became very ill and was hospitalised with severe spasms and sweats. Doctors assured Breda that this was a relatively common reaction to the vaccination and not to be overly concerned. “Looking back,” says mum Breda, “this was the point things began to change with Dominic.”
Between the ages of three and four, Dominic started exhibiting changes in his behaviour and, in particular, seemed uncomfortable in bright light. “It was as if he was intolerant to it.” Breda continues: “He would scratch his head and be generally very uncomfortable, going into his own world and becoming hard to communicate with. We took him to see the GP who assured us that it was nothing to worry about, but that didn’t sit right with me so I insisted on some more tests.”
Dominic was referred to North Middlesex Hospital to meet with specialists, only to be told that the absence of a father-figure in Dominic’s life was the most likely cause of his ‘problems’ and that he (and his father) should engage in a programme of counselling. Having finally summoned the strength to leave the long-term abusive relationship with what Breda calls a “dangerous man”, coupled with the length of time Dominic would have to take off school in order to attend the sessions, she took the decision that this was not appropriate for her son and, further, her instincts still screamed that there was something more fundamentally wrong with Dominic that was being overlooked by the professionals.
The family were then referred to Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, who investigated their suspicions of Dominic’s potential for epilepsy, but concluded that this was not the problem either.
With options for diagnoses getting thinner by the day, Breda’s family paid for Dominic to attend D.O.R.E., a specialist organisation that helped children with emotional problems. Treatment is exercise-based rather than medicated in an attempt to regain a natural balance in the brain. Unfortunately, however, shortly after paying the £3,000 fees, the company went into administration and Dominic lost out on his chances of treatment at the centre.
By this stage, Dominic’s social behaviour was noticeably changing and he was getting very possessive with friends. He would get very clingy and moody; it was almost as if he felt that his friends ‘belonged’ to him. Something had to be done, as this was not the Dominic that Breda knew and the problem was not going away.
After conducting research of her own into various childhood conditions, she came across Dr Robin Pauc who was based in Brokenhurst, Hampshire. “He charged a £100 initial consultation fee, but it was the best £100 we ever spent as it started us down a route that gave us back our Dominic! In literally ten minutes, following a few simple motor and psychology tests, he was diagnosed with aspects of ADHD, secondary dyslexia and aspects of dyspraxia. I had waited four years for someone to take me seriously and give me a label for what my son was suffering with, and I just broke down. Partly with relief, partly with exhaustion.”
Dr Pauc issued Dominic with a special computer game designed to aid the development of what he suspected was an immature cerebellum; in addition, he advised a mixture of natural supplements to take comprising iron and a multi vitamin. He also requested that Dominic stay away from sugary, fizzy drinks and sweets and cut out all additives from his diet, whilst increasing his intake of essentials such as protein. To complement this more balanced approach to food, Breda started giving him a low dose of fish oil supplements from the high street.
“It was strange having to cook him scrambled eggs for breakfast every day, but we soon got into it, and in a very short time his teachers were noticing a real difference in his school work and ability to focus.”
Dominic lost around two stone following this diet, and continued to take the supplements and complete the prescribed computer programme. Regular consultations with Dr Pauc provided the family with clinical updates on Dominic’s development and slight alterations to his treatment as his condition was stabilised.
“At one of the later consultations, Dr Pauc decided that, although progress had been made with Dominic’s condition, the emotional part of his brain was still not developing fast enough. He had read about a pure EPA supplement called Vegepa and explained to me about the fantastic clinical trials that had been conducted and suggested that we start Dominic on these supplements instead of the fish oils I was getting from the high street. He also prescribed a different computer programme, which would focus more on the part of his brain that needed extra development.
“Dominic improved no end, and it was noticeably from when he switched onto the Vegepa supplements. I was amazed that just taking one a day could make such a difference to him. In a short space of time he was showing amazing leadership potential and wanted to be involved; in fact he became captain of the football team!”
“Dominic is calmer, as if the Vegepa has erased a lot of his previous symptoms. He is concentrating better, and no longer scratching (a previous compulsive habit), and not sensitive to bright lights now.”
“Teachers have commented on his improvements, and he is also doing better academically, and achieves level 5s in his SATs. It’s as if Vegepa has ‘balanced him out’ – it’s transformed our family unit. He is also demonstrating more responsible behaviours and has just started coming home from school on the bus on his own – his first signs of independence.”
Breda is very positive about these changes, and she and Dominic are not looking back. They will continue with Dominic’s treatment, and the Vegepa supplements, which are providing the essential fuel for Dominic’s developing brain. With his level two in piano just around the corner and an accepted place at a very well respected boys college, this bright little boy has a shining future to look forward to.