Heavy blankets…tried it. Melatonin…tried it. Baths before bedtime…tried it. As much physical activity during the day to make my 5-year-old son with autism tired…tried it. Benedryl…tried it. Soothing noise maker in the room…tried it. Repetitive mantra “it’s time to sleep…it’s time to sleep”…tried it. (you can read that blog at http://www.lookatmyeyes.com)
I think we’ve tried just about everything we can think of to get our son to sleep…and sleep well throughout the night.
I feel like a total failure.
All those things mentioned above have helped from time-to-time…and I would encourage you to try any if not all of them to see if they will help your child sleep. (consult physician before you do too much with meds)
I’m convinced there is no right or perfect answer to get PDD kids to sleep. There can’t be–just like children on the autism spectrum, every situation is totally different. And there doesn’t seem to be a rhyme to the reason.
Sometimes when William is so tired we think he’ll sleep all through the night…then 4:00 AM rolls around and he starts calling out…”drink…drink…DRINK!” Yes, we’ve put a drink by his bed…doesn’t stop. It’s not a drink he wants–he doesn’t like being awake in the dark.
Before we had children my wife and I always commented how we would “never” let our children sleep in our bed. We still are not fans of that–but I will admit there have been a few dozen times over 5 years where we’re so dang tired that we’ll put him in our bed just to get him some sleep and us some sleep–and then again, there are times when even that doesn’t work.
We’ll go months with him sleeping well…maybe not even waking up once. Then for no obvious reason, he’ll wake up 3, 4, 5 times a night–and that will go on for a few weeks…then he’ll go back to sleeping well.
Tired, cranky, sluggish…and I’m not even talking about my son…I’m talking about me! Ahhhhh the joys of autism.
And people without kids on the spectrum say, “Oh I know just how you feel.” REALLY….YA THINK SO? Uhhhh NO YOU DON’T!!!
So what’s the meta-message from this rambling blog?
1) Deal with it…get your rest when you can…help your spouse as much as possible…a 20 minute nap is valuable
2) Hey, there are times having a child with autism stink! (shocking I know)
3) Within reason, try anything and everything you feel comfortable with–I certainly would consult a doctor before you get to deep into medication
4) Love your child…it’s not like they’re doing this to you in spite or anything
5) Congratulations…you’re in a very unique club…and you’re not alone