When you have a child diagnosed with Autism, there is no laundry list of things that are going to happen from that point forward. Most cases are unique and require a different level of treatment to overcome the varying circumstances in each child.
I am learning that the one universal issue is sleep - or lack of sleep - associated with being on the spectrum.
Last night all of the kids went to bed on time and it was pretty quiet in the house for a while - something we don't get a lot of frankly. Melinda went to bed around 11- and I had some work to do in preparation for my travels this week to visit a client.
Around midnight, Spencer (3) came downstairs and wanted something to drink. I responded to his request and then carried him to bed. I went back to my tasks in the home office when he re-appeared a few minutes later. Once again, I took him back to his bed and thought we were done for the night. During this little exchange, Chandler (8) also woke up - presenting another challenge - he was frustrated and told me on a couple of occasions that he just wanted to "scream".
Once I got Chan under control, I went back downstairs to finish what I was working on and head to bed. Once again, the little footsteps of a cute and not so tired three year old came bouncing down the stairs. This time, it was pretty clear that he was up - and so was I - for the foreseeable future.
We cuddled on the couch and watched a movie until around 2:00 am. Finally asleep, I made the decision to camp out with him in the living room to avoid waking anyone else up in the house. I fell a sleep around 3:00 - with a 7:00 wake up call. Needless to say, Spencer didn't get up to go to school this morning - Melinda took him later in the day.
Sleep in our house is at a premium. Lately, Aly (6) has been showing signs of not able to sleep, and with the two boys needing medication to get to sleep (Chandler has a prescription and Spencer gets a small dose of Melatonin each night), it can sometimes feel like we only get a few minutes of sleep each night.
I think the lack of sleep is one of the most frustrating things associated with Autism. I used to get very upset - but now I have changed my thought process to understand that this is simply one on one time with each of the boys that I would not normally have. While I would prefer this time happen in the afternoon versus the middle of the night - it's still time with them.
So, feel free to text me if you are up in the middle of the night - there is a good chance that I will be too.