Mum tells how condition has made son, 10, throw himself down stairs
- Credit: Fiona Fleming
A mum has told how her son, 10, was "changed overnight" by a rare condition that triggers fits of violence - including throwing himself down stairs.
Brody Fleming, from Poringland, has hallucinations that have resulted in harming himself and his mum Fiona - who has been left with deep bite marks and a split lip.
Brody has Paediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAs).
His mum said she first noticed signs of the condition in April last year, when he changed "overnight", with instances of Brody throwing himself down the stairs and out of an upstairs window.
PANDAs can be caused by a reaction to common illnesses such as strep throat, ear infection or scarlet fever, and can lie dormant in the body for years.
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Miss Fleming said she has suffered serious bruising, cuts and bites, and fought to keep him at home when services became concerned for her safety.
Miss Fleming, 32, said: "He is a completely different child.
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"It's like someone snatched your child in the night and you wake up to a different one.
"I had no clue what to do, who I would go to and what the matter was. I was reaching out to people.
"He's such a sociable person. He's a loving and caring person. Those who know Brody know he’s the sweetest boy and to see this happen to him is heartbreaking and had made it very hard for us to live."
The mum-of-one said at times people had thought Brody was undisciplined, bored, or suspected to have autism and ADHD, a diagnosis many PANDAs children were given.
A friend sent her a magazine article about the condition and, following blood tests with a private doctor, Brody had a streptococcal infection, a sign of PANDAs.
In some early cases PANDAs can be treated with antibiotics, but Brody's diagnosis is more severe and requires further treatment which is unavailable on the NHS.
To support the family, charity Tree of Hope is trying to raise £12,000 for an MRI, lumbar puncture and specialised blood tests to find the best way to treat Brody.
Miss Fleming said: "He has both auditory and visual hallucinations and will wash his hands until they bleed. He’s thrown himself out his bedroom window as well as down the stairs.
"I've been covered in bruises and bites, the bite marks dug so deep there was some nerve issues. The bruises were black and blue that last for weeks. I've had busted lips."
Miss Fleming said it was important not to hold on to what outbursts had happened in the day and stay upbeat.
She said; "It's like a whirlwind, I have to get to him very quickly to keep him safe. I did not realise how hard it is to restrain a 10-year-old boy until it happened."
Miss Fleming gave up her business as she needs to constantly supervise Brody, who currently takes 28 pills each day, to help stabilise him and help him sleep.
She said: "If we do go to the park my sister has to come with me as we might need two people to restrain him if he isn't well. We mainly stay in the house."
She said Brody's friends continued to support him but the condition left him wanting to be on his own.
She said: "He had friends online. A lot of days he screams at them that they are going to break his game or steal his things. They say to Brody "we just want to play, what do you want to play?" They are very good to him and I feel bad for them as they do not want to upset him. They shouldn't have to take that on at their age.
"It gets quite lonely. He spends a lot of time on his own. He'll say 'mum, just go away' and I will sit on the other side of the door, I can't go far."
To donate to Brody’s fund, visit https://www.treeofhope.org.uk/brody-fleming/