All parents start out life with their infant with one major preoccupation – sleep. As our infants develop into toddlers this becomes even more pressing. If our child does not get their optimum sleep we are at the affect of the mood and behaviour of our child, not to mention the concern for their health. Add to the mix the adult ‘s need to get adequate mix so they can cope with the demands of everyday living. The need to have adequate sleep is pivotal to long term health and well-being.
We have started to chronicle Janine’s ordeal of raising 3 boys, 2 of whom suffer from seizures. She is one of many Superstar mum’s who are challenged by needing to find solutions to everyday situations . As a mother and nanna, I cannot even begin to comprehend the strength, patience and resolve required to handle settling a child whose brain is incoherent. My heart goes out to all parents that are battling brain disorders with their children. My admiration for the kind of human being those parents are is profound.
Today I am sharing a mum’s challenge with her child who is on the autism spectrum and the sleep challenge she has faced since birth. Neuron plasticity treatments can and is helping parents who have children on the autism spectrum. This is the awareness Amazing Smart Kids is raising, as well as the funding to support and enable families to have these treatments.
What We Do to Help Our Son on the Autism Spectrum Sleep at Night
Sleep has always been difficult for my son, Bam Bam. Before his autism diagnosis, I remember going to the pediatrician’s office on what seemed like a monthly basis trying to seek answers in regards to why my baby wouldn’t sleep at night.
My oldest son, May May, has always been a sleeper and still is. He loves sleep, and it’s not uncommon for him to sleep 12 hours per night. My pediatrician assured me all kids are different, and that some babies are more difficult than others. Bam Bam didn’t have an autism diagnosis at the time, but sleep was my first clue that something wasn’t quite right.
I tried everything. I tried breast milk, gas drops, reflux meds, specialized formula, specialized bottles — the list could go on and on. The truth of the matter is that sleep was an issue for my child when he was a baby, and it’s still an issue for my kiddo as a kindergartner.
As a baby, the only thing that really worked for Bam Bam was the sensory input he received from the bottle. I remember all of the advice people shelled out at me. I heard comments such as, “Let your baby cry it out,” “Your baby shouldn’t be so bottle dependent” and “You shouldn’t willingly give into your baby’s screams.” This is what I really wanted to tell people who criticized me at the time: “I’m so tired from being up almost all night long. So yeah, I’m avoiding a meltdown by giving my kiddo a Bottle.
Bam Bam’s sleeping habits got better as the years progressed. He has gone from being up all hours of the night to now sleeping pretty consistently throughout the night. The challenges we experience now are way different than what we experienced in the early years. We always start the evening by laying Bam Bam down in his bed. Music is extremely calming for him, so he almost always falls asleep to music playing.
The biggest challenge now is getting my kiddo to stay in his own bed throughout the night. He’s an extremely light sleeper, so the tiniest sound will wake him up. His reactions vary from high-pitched screams, running down the hall or sometimes he tries to jump into bed with Mommy and Daddy. My husband and I typically try to bring him back to his bed and try to get him into a calm enough state so he falls back to sleep.
If he’s extremely worked up or if this has happened multiple times throughout the night, we often just let him stay in our room. When we get to this point, he’s exhausted and we’re exhausted. He has school and we both have work. We really just do whatever we can to get him to go back to sleep. We don’t want his day at school to be impacted due to a lack of sleep.
With all of this being said, I do think that Bam Bam is ready for additional methods to encourage him to stay in his bed for the entire night. He does do this occasionally, but not consistently like my 8-year-old and my 2-year-old. We’ve decided to really begin to push the sleep training this summer.
I don’t think he’ll ever be a 12-hour per night sleeper like my other children, but here’s hoping he will continue to make progress. He has already come along way, and I’m hoping he will continue to improve in this area as the years progress.
Source : The Art of Autism