In these early morning hours I thought I’d write about a topic that’s very real to us moms out there with a child (or 2) on the Autism Spectrum.. and that’s sleep patterns.
My son Michael has ALWAYS suffered from VERY EARLY sleep patterns.. and I’m not sure if it’s his internal clock that tells him spring is around the corner? But for the last week now it’s been 3:30 A.M. days.. and it’s wearing me out.
For him it doesn’t seem to faze him. If you have a child on the spectrum – you know that once they wake up, it’s very hard to get them back to sleep. They are WIRED FOR SOUND INSTANTLY! And stay that way for hours.. which is harsh when they have school the next day!
Yes I’ve tried the weighted blankets.. he always seemed to fall asleep great with them, but if he wakes in the middle of the nite I think it scares him to be weighed down in the dark. You see he can NOT have a night light.. been there and tried it – didn’t work.
Here are some of the things I’ve tried that has worked for my daughter Beverley (who is also diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum). I have music boxes in both their rooms that are actually an attach to the crib kind of thing (sit on the floor next to bed) that plays soft melodies. I find they can turn them on and MOST of the time – put themselves back to sleep.
I double up on quilts in the winter! They each have 2 quilts and a 3rd fur quilt that when I put it on the bed – I make sure it’s a little higher than the others to touch their cheeks. Comfort thing? Maybe..
I also found that having a 3 inch memory foam topper helps give them that deep pressure they need. They sink into it and it surrounds them.
In the summer when it’s REALLY hot outside is the ONLY time I use cotton sheets. In the spring and fall I use jersey sheets and the winter I use flannel. Seems to work great on my daughter – my son, good till this time of the year??
I also found that I never had the joy other parents out there did – putting my kids to bed early.. I’ve tried a chart system where I’d put my kids to bed before 9pm to learn my days were starting between 2 – 4 am!
If you have a child on the spectrum – folks they don’t need as much sleep as a typical child.. try a later bedtime. Hey I know it sucks – I can see the wheels turning.. “When your day starts at 4am and ends at 9:30 or 10pm – when do I get ME TIME?” Sometimes – NEVER. I always talk to myself about this time and say it’s only for a little while! Usually the sleep pattern only lasts a week or two!
Buck up & Chin UP – put on your big girl panties & just deal with it..
WARNING: If your child sleeps longer than 9 or 10 hours – in this house it usually means that someone is getting sick.
You know all those sounds/whimpers they make upon waking? I’ve learned by the different tones – they all mean something different! In this house – it could be the difference of a stuffed animal fell out of bed – mom find it and give it back! To mom I have to go to the bathroom..
Also learned – NEVER TURN A LIGHT ON IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NITE! (Unless someone is sick) They can’t process going from dark to blinding light to dark again. It makes it even worse to try and get them in that mode to sleep again..
I find that my son also finds comfort by having his teddy bear tucked into the back of his shirt, so it piggy backs and *hugs* him to sleep at nite. He also likes it there when he walks around during the daytime hours. I remove it every morning before he goes to school though.
I can’t stress enough – stick to a routine and BE FIRM ON IT! Our special little ones need consistency! If it’s out that little smidgen – it confuses them, causes chaos and they can’t process it. It creates so much turmoil in their little bodies.
So I hope this helped some of you parents out there that struggle in this same area.
If you found this helpful – please follow my blog, like my page and share it with others. As I will be sharing quite a bit of tips down the road of what has worked and hasn’t worked.
Please leave feedback also! I want to hear what’s worked for you and what hasn’t! Now to try and get some final hours of sleep before the craziness begins! Bless you.