Weekender

The boy who feels no pain

Written By : Daily Mail Reporter . Josh Hodgkiss has given himself a black eye and ripped his toe nails out because he doesn’t notice when he hurts himself His
17 Jun 2011 12:00

image Written By : Daily Mail Reporter . Josh Hodgkiss has given himself a black eye and ripped his toe nails out because he doesn’t notice when he hurts himself

His family have been given a £10,000 padded tent for him to sleep in so he doesn’t hurt himself

Parents quickly get used to their children getting scrapes and bruises.
But when your child’s injuries are not accompanied by shrieks of discomfort, it is a little more worrying.
Three-year-old Josh Hodgkiss hurts himself more than most – because he cannot feel pain.
The toddler has bitten his tongue in half, given himself a black eye and even ripped his own toe nails out because he doesn’t notice when he hurts himself.
The brave boy was born with a rare genetic disorder called Smith-Magenis Syndrome, which also means he has no concept of danger and is wide awake when everyone is asleep because his sleep hormones are reversed.
His long-suffering parents Mark and Stephanie Hodgkiss, from Telford, Shropshire, have spent around £12,000 adapting their house to help Josh, including installing sensory lights.
They have also been given a special £10,000 padded tent for his room by Telford and Wrekin Council so he doesn’t hurt himself.
Full-time mum Stephanie, 25, said: “The worst thing about his condition is that he doesn’t feel pain. It’s scary.
“I once came out of the bathroom and saw blood everywhere.
“Josh had slit his tongue in half but he was just sitting there watching television.
“We’ve got a wooden chest in our living room and I’ve seen him climb on top it, walk off it and get up like nothing has happened.
“He bites his own hands and picks his toe nails off.”
The condition can also transform Josh from a quiet, loving boy into a violent terror who lashes out at his parents, his five-year-old sister Ellie and half brother Tyler, nine.
Full-time mum Stephanie said: “He’s broken my nose. He was sitting on my lap and his head just went backwards.
“Ellie seems to get it the worst. He pulls her hair and tries to head butt her.
“Josh is very strong. He’s even got a six-pack.
“He’ll scream and slap his legs.
“It sounds awful but sometimes I can’t cope with it. It’s so hard. I don’t think people understand how serious his condition is. We often get stared at.
“I can’t take him out on my own.”
Dad Mark, 27, a builder, said: “He’s like Jekyll and Hyde.
“He can be very loving and will come up to you and give you a kiss but then he can be awful.
“We were at a play barn and he made me bite my tongue. Blood was coming out of my mouth and I didn’t know what to do.
“We’ve been refused respite because no one can cope with his needs in the area.
“We haven’t been on holiday since Josh was diagnosed.
“One of us has to stay at home with him and it upsets us that we can’t go out as a family. We can’t give as much attention to the other kids as we’d like.”
While waiting for the blue SafeSpace tent to be made, the desperate couple were forced to let Josh sleep in a cot nailed to the floor and padded with bubble wrap.
SafeSpaces are designed to create a safe environment for children with special needs who may be unsafe in an ordinary room.
Stephanie said it was a relief to know Josh, who attends a special school, has somewhere safe to play.
She said: “If I’m tidying in the morning, I know I can leave him in his bedroom.
“He really likes playing in there.” Josh was diagnosed with Smith-Magenis Syndrome, which affects one in 25,000 children, when he was a toddler.
When he was born, his parents were accused of over feeding him because he had chronic constipation.
At first, doctors thought Josh had spina bifida but a blood test revealed he had Smith-Magenis Syndrome.
Stephanie said: “We were told us not to look his condition up on the internet but we did. There were lots of negative things about children breaking their parent’s arms or harming themselves.
“I kept his condition to myself for ages but then I searched Facebook and found parents with children just like Josh.
“He’s doing really well at school and and is great at gym. He’s just learned how to do a forward roll.
“He can play on his trampoline for hours or watch his favourite Disney films.
“Josh probably won’t speak until he’s six but he can say mum and dad.”


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