Just wondering, as I don’t have an avm myself, is it usual to suffer from nightmares? Jake seems to go through phases, but at the moment he’s having loads of them. He didnt want to go to bed tonight, didnt want me to leave him in case he had a bad dream. I think they are quite vivid, he seems to remember a lot about them. I know kids have nightmares anyway, but his are so frequent now.

Poor kid! He went through a trauma, and nightmares are not uncommon. People who’ve been through anything like this have seen that nothing is certain and life can end, and that’s a lot more than most of us can handle. Have you thought about asking his pediatrician to recommend a psychologist? There’s nothing wrong with Jake, but a psychologist might be able to help him find his equilibrium sooner than he could by himself. It certainly doesn’t sound like Jake needs any kind of diagnosis or medicine, but a professional who’s trained in helping kids work through trauma via talk and play could be a help.

Thanks for your advice. I’ve tried over and over to get Jake referred for some type of counselling but the closest I got was getting him referred to the behavioural specialists - they quickly said they didn’t need to see him again!! His behaviour isnt a problem (well not usually anyway) but I really do want him to talk about what happened. Not sure the best way to go about it though. Hes joined a group at school for kids who’ve suffered some kind of loss, most of them have divorced parents, or have lost a family member - Jake loves the group which makes me think it would do him good to find a decent counsellor or psychologist

My AVM hasn’t ruptured, but I’ve always had frequent, vivid dreams, with reoccuring nightmares since childhood. Sometimes the dreams are funny, sometimes scary, sometimes just plain weird.

The ones that tend to stick with me are the scary ones that are particularly vivid. Those can leave me shaken for the entire next day. Could you ask the school counselor if Jake can stop by to talk in addition to participaing in the loss group?

I’m sure the school group is a huge help; good thinking, getting him involved!

If your health insurance isn’t an HMO, you might have the freedom to find a network-covered counselor or therapist on your own, without a referral. If your insurance works that way, there’s probably a DocFind or other tool on the insurance website to help you locate someone. There are also often community resources that you can refer yourself to; they won’t be covered by insurance, but they tend to offer care on a sliding scale. Googling for search terms like “counseling, children, trauma, [your town]” might turn up some options.

I bet there are also a lot of good books out there for parents of kids who have been through trauma; I wish I knew which one to recommend, but maybe you can get the name of a good one from the leader of the school group.

Jake may be too old to want his back rubbed before going to sleep, but there’s been research showing that just 15 minutes of massage by a parent as part of a bedtime ritual brings kids’ stress levels down by a noticeable amount. Touch speaks louder than words sometimes, right?