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I am at the end of my tether, on my own with non sleeping child with suspected ADD

(21 Posts)
Athendof Fri 21-Sep-12 23:30:55

The title says it all, any tips? I am feeling like I can't bear it anymore... I'm exhausted, angry, I cannot even have 5 minutes in the bathroom without something going wrong, broken, etc. the non stop talking is driving me crazy, I just want to run away... Not that I would, but if someone can suggest something that may work, it would be much appreciated.

Shellywelly1973 Sat 22-Sep-12 00:16:51

Hi.
Is your child being assessed for ADD/ADHD?

I have a ds7 he has dx of ASD& ADHD. The ADHD is the more difficult of the 2 conditions to manage.

My main coping strategies are, structure to each and every day.
Plenty of physical activity( minimum 2 hrs).
Wind down time each evening, tv/laptop/reading.
Bath and bed, strict routine, that never changes even in the holidays.
I read to him for about half an hour each evening, no tv in bed, dim lights, reduce all noise in the house and don't entertain getting in or out of bed.

Its draining , exhausting and relentless...

But, i always remind myself he can't control how he is. Its my job to find and teach him techniques to calm down and control himself.

Wishing you the very best of luck!

AnxiousElephant Sat 22-Sep-12 00:33:42

Even if a child has ADD, in fact even more important with ADD is strict routine. Same things happen at the same time every day.

How old is your child?

Athendof Sat 22-Sep-12 14:25:14

Thanks for the suggestions, I am going to go a bit stricter with the routines, thanks. He was a Gina Ford baby so it is not as if we are not used to routines:2 hours playing/running around at the after school club, half an hour of homework while I cook dinner when we get home, and if he finishes the homework, one hour in the computer which he mainly uses to watch cartoons/read stories, then to bed where he spends the next 2-3 hrs reading/getting out of bed.

He is 10, very mobile, and always too distracted to notice what is going around him while he is bouncing around. He seems to need about 6 hrs sleep. He does quite a bit of running around at the after school club and reads a lot (he goes easily through a 200+ pages book twice a week) but he can be up and about past midnight despite taking him back to bed, time after time.

The other weekend I really tried to tire him out... 10 miles in the bike, did he sleep? no. Next day 4 hrs in the swimming pool, any changes? No. The only change was that I was dead tired and he was still bouncing around.

But I agree, he cannot control it, he is moving all the time, even in his sleep. I understand he is exactly the same at school.

He was being assessed for ADHD/ADD two years ago but, as he had 8 teachers on that academic year, the school didn't complete the questionnaire when sent by the psychologist. Actually, after 4 months of trying to get the school to reply, a teacher who had only taught him for 2 weeks, 2 years before completed the questionnaire saying he was as active as any other kid... then he spent the next year being sent to the headmaster office at least once a week because he wouldn't stay still in class...

I really wish he could be assessed again, but don't know how to go about it, or if something good will come out of having a diagnose. The only thing I know is that it is getting worse with time. :-(

Athendof Sat 22-Sep-12 14:27:19

... and affecting his performance in school/ability to keep friends for long

AnxiousElephant Sun 23-Sep-12 23:34:25

Either the school should be able to refer him to an educational psycholigist or if you see your GP he can be seen by the paediatrician who then may refer on depending on the findings.
Is there anything in his diet that could cause it? Have you checked the ingredients on anything he eats? Does he drink low sugar juice/ squash? This contains aspartame which affects lots of children and makes them hyper.
What time is he expected to wind down? That sounds like a ridiculously busy schedule, is he over tired? Again this adds to hyperactivity.
Warm milky drink before bed, bath, limit the reading to 30 minutes and then lights out. I would do homework after dinner (brain functions better after an energy boost) and allow computer when you do dinner.

AnxiousElephant Sun 23-Sep-12 23:36:41

ps if necessary remove the light bulb in his bedroom when lights out if he is likely to put it back on. My dd is very active in sleep but she doesn't have ADD/ADHD. If the tv/computer are in his room move them out.

Athendof Mon 24-Sep-12 00:21:52

He has so many allergies, I cook most things he eats from scratch, no aspartame or other rubbish on his diet, but I have noticed he seemed to get far worse since gluten was reintriduced to his diet.

He has a busy schedule but not as busy as most his friends. He goes to holiday club as I need to work (we are in our own, we don't have any other family), homework is necessary due to dyslexia and he reads so much because he likes it. But winding down time starts at 7.

I have tried the computer first, homework later, but then he doesn't want to eat ir do homework. :-(

Athendof Mon 24-Sep-12 00:30:03

Ps. He has a light snack at after school club at 5, just before I pick him up.

Himalaya Mon 24-Sep-12 00:40:07

Have you considered Melatonin?

It is a naturally occurring hormone that our bodies make when it gets dark to tell us to wind down to sleep. People with ADD don't make enough.

In the US (and hence also on the Internet) you can buy it over the counter like a vitamin. In the UK you can get it on special prescription if your Dr is inclined.

We tried it, after doing all the good advice sleep stuff that works with most kids to no avail. It worked wonders.

AnxiousElephant Mon 24-Sep-12 01:16:22

Do you know what he gets for snack at school/ juice?
Melatonin is an option but lots of GPs are reluctant to supply this long term, it may be that he needs it for the initial getting routine but may be ok after a few months to come off it.

Athendof Mon 24-Sep-12 11:37:45

Thank you for your comments.

It is normally just fruit, sandwiches, sausage rolls and pasta as snack at the after school club. He rarely gets desserts as he is allergic to common ingredients.

We have tried melatonin to try to get him into schedule, both of us... I felt so knackered next day that I am a bit reluctant to use it as I don't know if this would make him even more distracted at school the next day. What I know is that as soon as we stop, the problems return so he may need to use it all the time.

I will insist in a very strict routine and perhaps some melatonin to help to establish it, as you have suggested. But if you have any other ideas, please keep them coming, they are much appreciated.

devilinside Mon 24-Sep-12 12:41:47

My ds is a bit younger, but this is what worked for him:

Took legs off bed (frame is now on the floor) He was spooked by 'underneath' the bed

projector light from Argos (brilliant)

Removed every single toy from his room

he now sleeps around 10 hrs per night, which is a vast improvement

Himalaya Tue 25-Sep-12 08:06:11

Attendof - I know I sound like the melatonin marketing board, and obviously you have to research and make your own medication decisions, with your doc.

But I tend t o think if their body isn't making enough of this substance than maybe they need it. Like we wouldn't expect people with diabetes to come of insulin when they are back on track.

It has a half life of 30 mins which means it is very quickly processed in the body. After 4 hours 99.5% is gone, so there is really none hanging around in the morning to make your DS feel drowsy at school.

Athendof Wed 26-Sep-12 07:59:18

Himalaya, how long before bed time do you use the melatonin?

Athendof Wed 26-Sep-12 08:01:29

DS would take around two hours to fall asleep, after he has taken it. Is this normal?

Himalaya Wed 26-Sep-12 08:46:28

Athendof - I'm not sure about normal, but i can tell you our experience.

DS takes 3mg about half an hour before bed with a glass of milk. Then we do the bedtime thing pyjamas, teeth, book etc... then I tuck him in and say good night and he falls asleep within 15 minutes, maybe with 1 or 2 shouts down/questions/trips upstairs but sometimes with none.

Before, with the same routine he would wrestle around in bed for 2-3 hours asking 'one more question', worrying about stuff, having 'bad thoughts', wanting me to sit on the stairs etc...basically his mind was just rattling around and he couldn't wind down.

As you can imagine, the change has had quite a big impact on our life!

Athendof Wed 26-Sep-12 20:51:29

How old is he? Wondering if DS has had too small a dose.

Himalaya Wed 26-Sep-12 20:56:01

He is 9 (28kg) - I started him on half a tablet (1.5mg) but didn't notice any result so tried with a whole tablet and that worked.

Athendof Wed 26-Sep-12 21:09:22

And yes, I can imagine the impact that change should have had in your lives, I remember the time when DS used to go to sleep on time as a very happy and relaxed one. Now I am totally exhausted most of the time. :-(

Athendof Wed 26-Sep-12 21:13:13

Same here with the half tablet, As if he had not had anything.

I have taken him to play football after the afterschool club, done homework, shower and didn't allow him in the computer + 1 tablet. His light is off shock

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