June 2015

Night terrors and developmental delay in a child with cerebral palsy

by Joelle Smaniotto Gorton

B. was seven year old when she came to me in May 2011. She had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and developmental delay. She could not be left alone anywhere and woke up many times at night. She had problems walking (although it had been greatly improved with the help of Conductive Education therapy). She had a poor appetite, was vomiting every morning, and was constipated .

Mother (M): “I had to take a pill to conceive.  I had no morning sickness. I was hungry a lot. I felt a bit queasy but was fine. I ate lots of carbohydrates, sushi and rice. She was a big baby, about three and a half kilos (the mother is Asian).

“The specialist wasn’t concerned. My pregnancy was normal. I was staying with my in-laws. I was not happy during that time. My due date was on a public holiday. I was overdue a few days and I had to be induced. The doctor had to break my water. During the delivery, B. got stuck. I was having cramps. The doctor used forceps to get her out and she had to be given oxygen.  Eight hours later, she was having seizures. She was hospitalised and given antibiotics right away. Five days after her birth, a scan was done, which showed spots in her brain. She had seizures for the first three months of her life.

“She was put in intensive care for two weeks.  I did not breastfeed her; she never sucked. She had formula for the first two weeks. I expressed my milk but did not have much milk; my breasts were sore.”

Joelle Smaniotto Gordon (JSG): What happened during the pregnancy? Can you recall anything special?

M: “I remember walking through the living room one day and the TV was on, there was a horror movie on. There was a boy ghost. (At this stage, I felt the energy of the mother changing). I screamed and jumped. I cried because I was so scared.  Up to this day, I still remember that little boy. I was shaking .”

When B. was younger, she was very scared. She would cry and cry.

JSG: “How was your labour?”

M: “I felt my back was sore. I pushed so hard. It was a shock when I discovered what happened to B. I felt sad.

“B. never rolled over; she was always on her back. She used to scream and cry non stop. My mother in law thought she was scared.

“Now she can’t eat anything. She always has nausea , especially first thing in the morning. She gags every morning. She does not like it when she sees food.”

JSG: Does she like milk?

M: “She doesn’t like milk. She never finished her bottle. She stopped eating formula early. She has never been able to suck the breast.  She would gag on the tit of her bottle. She has been on Losec for a long time. She is always constipated, always sick . Her stools are very hard, they must be physically removed. She is taking Morvicol, otherwise she is constipated. She is worse for dairy.

“She has night terrors; when I go to her bedroom, it is as though she does not know me and would only calm down if I hold her hand. She wakes up as often as five times a night; she is an extremely light sleeper. Once she is awake, she does not go back to sleep right away. When she wakes up, she is almost angry at me: “No, no mummy, go away.”  It is as though she wakes up feeling angry at us. She does not know what she wants. If I leave the room, she will cry or scream. Now, she sleeps with us. She cries if we are not in the room with her, she needs reassurance. Sometimes, she wakes up and cries, with real tears. She has to be with me or my husband (the mother has to go to school with her).

“She gets sick a lot, needs to be wrapped up, and is worse in windy weather. Her hands and fingers are cold. She is very careful, she watches people, observes them. She is compliant and obedient. She does not like to make me angry. She is very nice. People like to be around her. She likes to look at other kids, is easily distracted. She is a happy girl.”

JSG: Please describe her eating?

M: “She is a very slow eater. She forgets to chew. She likes rice, soups, easy food; food she does not need to chew. She loves yoghurt, tofu, grapes, mangoes, and salmon.

“When she is sick, she always vomits. She gags a lot in the morning, does not have appetite in the morning. She never tells me if she is hungry or thirsty. She has had lots of sore throats and was given antibiotics. Her eyes are not very good. She can’t track.”

JSG: “Any other fears?”

M: “She is scared of babies, does not even want to get close to them. She is also scared of dogs and cats; anything furry! (B is terrified of my sweet  golden Labrador). Her speech is very limited and unclear.”

Medical history
On father’s side:  heart problems
On mother’s side: cancer

Prescription: Stramonium 30C, one dose for three days. I start with low potencies with special needs children as they are often very sensitive.

The horror movie had such an impact on the pregnant mother that I could not ignore it.  The night terror of the child was just a confirmation of the remedy.  Had the child not presented with night terrors, I would still have prescribed Stramonium to start the case.

Follow up one month later
There is much less fear and fewer tantrums. She sleeps better, not as light as before. She can cope better when alone now. She used to shake her legs constantly (not mentioned previously), this has decreased a lot.

After taking her remedy, her music teacher and her teacher aid noticed an improvement, she is chattier.

Prescription: Stramonium 200C, five doses

Follow up one month later
She sleeps much better. She likes taking her remedy. Her memory is better. She still gags easily. It takes her a long time to finish her meal. She stores her food in her cheeks.  She does not chew much. She drinks a lot of water.

Prescription: Stramonium 200C, for three days

Follow up one month later
Sleeps through the night, no more night terrors. Speech is still improving.
B. was not scared when her mother left her alone with me to go to the bathroom.
Still constipated. Still no appetite in the morning.  
Mother: “She is always cold and stiff after a shower. She is affected by temperature changes and always has cold hands.  She had a low fever and vomited twice this month. Her speech is still improving though but she doesn’t chew. Her gait is still improving.”

At this stage, I knew it was time to change remedy and gave her Lac humanum 200C, 3 doses, one dose every second day.

Follow up October 11
Her appetite is better. With Stramonium, her sleep improved, she was able to lie down in bed by herself without having her parents next to her. After Lac humanum, her sleep is deeper. She is not afraid of babies anymore. Her gait is improving and she can now walk down the stairs by herself. Her eating and her speech have improved; she is now making longer sentences. She is not afraid of my dog anymore. Slight improvement on the constipation.

B. has been on Lac humanum for two years now. She has needed a dose of Stramonium twice when she started again to wake up at night.  

She also received a dose of Amniotic fluid, which made her more grounded. 

Stramonium and Lac humanum are the two remedies that have made a big difference in her life. B. is now a different girl than two years ago. She is chatty, more social, and can now play with other children. She is much stronger. Her immune system is much healthier.

She attended her friend’s birthday party recently and ate as much as the other children, although she still eats very slowly.

Lately, I gave her a few doses of Opium 30C as her constipation was not really improving on Lac humanum. Children with cerebral palsy often have constipation. She has now been off Movicol for the first time for the last four months. She still does not go to the toilet every day but she does not need medication.

B. has made remarkable improvements since I first met her and is off all allopathic medication. I am still seeing B regularly and trust she will keep on improving.

Photos: Shutterstock
Distressed baby; stockphoto mania
Girl blowing candles; sunabesyou

Keywords: cerebral palsy, developmental delay, night terrors, constipation, tantrums
Remedies: Amniotic fluid, Lac humanum, Opium, Stramonium


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Joelle Smaniotto-Gorton
Posts: 2
Case 1 Child with Cerebral palsy
Reply #2 on : Mon June 01, 2015, 01:39:09
Hi Eva,

I decided on Lac Hum because there was a feeling of forsaken, a lack of spatial awareness, her gait was clumsy, she was very bond to her mother, too connected to her, she did not like dairy and was worse for it and of course she missed out on the breastfeeding. One of my favorite remedy. Joelle
E Pick
Posts: 2
Lovely Case!
Reply #1 on : Sun May 31, 2015, 10:14:56
Beautiful anamnesis, getting to that defining moment during pregnancy. I wonder if the prescription of Lac-h is because she missed out on the breastfeeding, or what else made you you decide on it? Thank you for sharing this! Eva