Shropshire Council

Tom Maddison, aged 7

This Parent and Carer Council (PACC) ‘Being Me’ article is about Tom Maddison, aged 7 and written with the support of his Mom, Susie. Tom has suspected Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) and is currently on the BeeU waiting list for an assessment.

Susie first contacted PACC to share a poem that Tom had written to explain how his mind works, she wanted to share it with other families.

“My son found a way to explain how his mind works, it's really helping me understand his triggers, I know it can be a hard thing to explain to others, so I find his words quite powerful.

Tom wanted to talk about how his brain feels, some of his descriptions were so creative we decided to write them down, he then arranged his quotes into a poem and with a little help, I didn't want to change his words, we created rhyme and rhythm.

I am so proud of him expressing these feelings, we hope it may help others understand too”

Snap, Crackle, Pop.

Words by Thomas Maddison aged 7

(Edited with help from Mum)
My classroom is a forest floor
And every time I flap
A twig catches under my shoe


Do this, do that, do as I say


It hurts, I want to run away


My feet are moving fast, I feel alive and free, BUT

CRACKLE, CRACKLE, CRACKLE, sound the twigs under my feet

They tell me SLOW, STOP, BREATHE,
But all that I can think
is the overwhelming CRACKLE
of my focus on the brink

My body isn't doing what I’m asking it to do

CRACKLE, CRACKLE, CRACKLE as more energy flows through

Try to connect, hold on
It only shivers away
to communicate I laugh, but
POP, I cannot move my way

I can’t control myself
Malfunctioning Electric
I'm wrong as I hurt others
I didn't want to do it
Striking out and scared


Lonely and unheard


I scream and scream and scream and scream


After the earthquake settles down, I'm floating in deep space
Reaching out to reconnect in a constant, caring place
I never was abandoned, I hear them gently say
as back into the classroom we hug, and hum and sway.

Snap, crackle, POP! 

After receiving the poem, we asked Susie and Tom to tell us a bit more about Tom’s life at home and school.  Thomas decided what he would like to tell us, and Susie shared some of the support that helps make Tom’s life better.

“Tom’s school has been truly fantastic with supporting him and have trialled many provisions to find those that help him stabilise and learn.  Thomas loves Maths and reading but struggles with writing and drawing, school encourages him with hand writing, Tom enjoys this tactile sensory experience, and it allows him to practice his spelling along with his classmates.

Spinning is a sensation that helps Tom regulate, however done independently he would over-exhort himself, lose his focus and crash into furniture or other people, the school invested in a giant spinning top and a Whizzy Dizzy so that he, and others, can experience this sensation safely.

At home he loves be outside swinging or spinning on his swing set and hunting for bugs or forgeable wild foods.

Tom struggles to control his emotions and often needs a safe space to calm down, at home he would hide in cupboards to do this, so we transformed a large kitchen cupboard into a sensory den, a cot mattress, fluffy cushions and his wolf pack line the den and an Infinity mirror gives him something to focus on... it also doubles as a hiding spot when he wants to play Minecraft on his Switch without being disturbed by his little brother.

School is difficult for Tom, he struggles to maintain friendships within his school year, he is emotionally much younger so gravitates towards children a couple of years below however his actions can be unpredictable so he has 1 to 1 assistance. The transition into 3rd year was hard and he is currently back with the year 2 group with hopes to slowly transition back by January.

The aim is to help Tom settle into a smaller focus group within his new classroom and to move away from 1 to 1 support when he is ready.

Oh he's also asked me to tell you that he loves wolves 🐺🐺🐺”