Monday, January 25, 2010

Sleep Is A Premium

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.

Cory Howerton

1 comment:

  1. Nice to meet you - saw you pop up on Autism Bloggers!

    I am so thankful that my son responded to Melatonin. It used to take him between 45-90 minutes to fall asleep, plus he would be awake for a couple of hours in the middle of the night many times (not alert, just laying there trying to sleep but not wanting me to leave).

    Good luck finding the solution for your boys - I know how hard it is to function on little sleep!