Reporter RICHARD GLADSTONE looks into a rare syndrome that triggers aggressive outbursts and how one family is struggling to cope with its effects.
THE slightest thing can set four-year-old Cameron Morrison off into a tantrum.
It may appear to the outsider that he is like any other boy losing his temper when he does not get his own way.
But Cameron has a rare condition called Sotos syndrome, which means his tantrums can be dangerous to himself and the rest of his family.
His 40-year-old mum Tracy, of Waldergrave Street, said it was like living in a ‘nightmare’ trying to cope with Cameron’s condition.
She said she was ‘gutted’ when doctors diagnosed him with the rare syndrome.
Miss Morrison said: “On a typical day if you look at Cameron he may hit you in the head or punch you in the face or stomach.
“A toy, for instance, could lay on the floor for three months, his two-year-old sister Rebecca could pick it up and Cameron will try to strangle her.”
Miss Morrison said her son was recently diagnosed with Sotos syndrome after undergoing several blood tests amid concerns from staff at Churchwood School’s nursery.
She said: “It’s horrible as Cameron is pushing and thumping all the time. When we go out we have to keep him in some sort of restraint to stop him running off. When he jumps it’s like something out of WWF wrestling. Sending him upstairs to his room doesn’t work as he finds a way of escaping from his room.
“I have to have the kitchen door locked at all times because Cameron has already cut his older brother’s arm with a knife.
“A few weeks ago Cameron was chasing his 10-year-old sister around the house with a knife.
“If he could Cameron could climb up and throw the TV at you.”
Sotos syndrome is an uncommon condition that affects approximately one in 14,000 in the UK.
It is also known as cerebral gigantism due to the large head circumference that is associated with the condition.
All children with Sotos syndrome have some degree of learning difficulty but this may range from very mild to very severe.
In many cases, a child that has been very slow to reach the major milestones such as walking and talking will continue to develop at their own pace.
Miss Morrison said: “Cameron is very behind in his speech and just says the word ‘mum’.
“He uses Makaton and other sign language but I have been told he has the mind of a two-year-old. If you don’t respond to him he gets angry and hits you. At school he has to have one-to-one supervision and has to be watched all the time.
“One time he grabbed a boy by the collar and bashed his head on the floor.”
His mum fears her son’s condition will get worse.
“I think it will and I don’t know how the school will cope as Cameron gets older.
“I can’t see him coping,” she added.
Help and support for families of children with Sotos syndrome is available from the Child Growth Foundation. It can be contacted on 0208 950 0257 or log onto www.childgrowthfoundation.org.