Hello, our 8yo DD with learning diffs (can't read, talk etc) has difficulties winding down at night time.
She can't read, so while her siblings (another room) read until they feel sleepy, she is still quite revved up, even after we've given her a bath, read to her, laid on her bed and had a chat, said our prayers etc.
For example if we leave a glass of water in her room she'll tip it over, just for a laugh/the reaction & attention it brings.
I got a sleep thing that plays wave sounds which is nice but not enough. Last night we heard a noise from her room and she'd smeared a whole pot of moisturiser over her hair, her pjs, her bedroom walls etc.
She's not trying to be naughty but she can't relax and go to sleep, even though she's pale and exhausted - she really needs her sleep.
I don't know what to do to help her be restful and in her bedroom alone at night. She's not frightened or unhappy -she's a happy child and loves her room - but she needs some way of winding down by herself.
What do your SN children do? I'm not mad keen to get her a telly for her room but maybe I should. Though I'd have a job talking DH into that one as he's quite old school.
We use blue blocking glasses for our DS. They block blue which sends out sleep signals to the brain. We use various relaxation apps, lavender sprays for the room and a relaxation roll on for his wrists, plus a rescue remedy night time too. Occasionally we give our son some magnesium, which is said to help with feelings of relaxation.
I stay with my DS2 who has autism until he falls asleep at night. It can take anything up to two hours. It is hellish. So I am watching your thread with interest as I do all of the routine and wind down things that you are describing too.
We have to stay with DS1 until he falls asleep too. He is 3 years old with ASD. It used to take up to 2 hours, and I also would describe it as hell. We then started using melatonin, giving it to him in his hot chocolate drink before bed. Now it takes maximum of half an hour, but usually only 10 minutes. We have our evenings back and he is much more rested so his mood has improved massively . He still wakes in the night at times, but that's a different challenge!
I wonder if giving her less attention for things like spilling water etc? Getting her a plastic sports bottle instead of a cup? attend to nothing (as far as possible!) at night. So if she spreads lotion over her room, leave it until the morning to reduce the amount of busy interaction coming from you as a result of what she's done? Switching her light bulb with a dimmer one or a coloured one? Black out blinds? modifying the tone and volume of your voice at night? investigating whether she can have some medication? building in an exercise routine early in the day so she is more physically tired? remove items from her room that could be stimulating, distracting or used to make mess? or have a cupboard that you lock up at night?
It sounds a bit melodramatic I know but melatonin changed our lives. Before my DS took it, I knew we were struggling. DS was suffering from being so tired all the time and I was stressed from him being awake all the time but the relief when he actually went to sleep at bedtime. I had no idea just how much impact his inability to go to sleep was causing us.
Thank you all for this - only just managed to sit down and log in to see the replies and they're hugely helpful. Those of you who lie with your children - I'm with you. It's so frustrating and exhausting to have to do this every night.
Melatonin - I hadn't thought of that. Which is ridiculous given I used to buy it in America and use it for insomnia in my 20s - it was amazing stuff. (Obv the insomnia disappeared in a puff of smoke once I had children!)
Do you get it on prescription and are there any downsides? Or do you buy it abroad and DIY? If so, what dose do you give?
Thanks fenella for all ideas. We do remove everything from her room that could be spilt (e.g. water etc) but on the odd occasion my husband is in charge, these get overlooked! And we do minimise the attention but I had to strip her bed as a whole damn pot of the stuff was soaking through the sheets onto her mattress.
I like the idea of a coloured light bulb - will google that now, and blue blocking glasses as I've never heard of them and she does wear glasses.
Also audiobooks is something I should look into - she isn't very good at following storylines but perhaps I could find some v basic stories for younger children that might work for her.
We recently had an appointment with a consultant about ds sleep . As well as melatonin, she suggested a red light bulb in his room. This will be bright enough to read by, but won't break down the natural melatonin like a normal light bulb will do. Off to search for one today.