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SN children

Should I feel bad?

19 replies

springgreens · 29/07/2006 07:53

Happy weekend all

My lil one (nearly 4) has ASD and like so many children finds going to sleep really hard in this weather (and during the winter time actually?! ).

I've gone through phases of using melatonin in the past - as long as he's fairly calm, it's very powerful at sending him off to sleep but makes for broken nights as the hormone wears off and he's up again after 4 hours.

For many months now, I haven't used it and have opted for leaving ds in his bedroom to settle himself to sleep. Unfortunately this takes 2 hours and at the moment 3 with him not sleeping until 10.30. His room is very safe with no stimulus (apart from the washing I haven't put away and the black out blind that he can peep behind to look at the garden). We use a baby gate to stop him from coming out, but the door is open so that he can hear that we're still there and I can monitor the noises he's making!

Although ds isn't distressed and crying out, I do feel guilty about him being left there for such a long time on his own in the dark. I would hate it! I do check him after about an hour and as and when required, but try to limit this as I know he's reinforced by the repitition of me going back in.

Do you think I'm out of order for just leaving him? I read in Catherine Moores book that she was able to cope much better when she stopped being stressed about her children not going to sleep and accepted that it maybe takes longer for children with ASD to wind down and settle themselves. Having said this, she writes of staying in her boys bedroom to keep an eye until they're actually asleep.

ds 'fills in' that it's 'time to "sleep"' and seems to understand that he needs to lay down and put his head on the pillow, but I've no strategy for making him stay in bed or sleep quicker. Am I out of order for leaving him to his own devices (stimming vocally and bouncing around) for this period of time once it's bedtime? This way, once he's asleep he'll sleep through to a reasonable hour that feels much easier to live with than the broken nights when I've 'drugged him'!. I do know he's safe and needs to rest, but he loves deep pressure and a current new trick is to put his hand as far as it will go into the gap where the door hinges. He then pushes on the door until it hurts his fingers/hand, takes them out with a chuckle, and starts the game again. [Maybe I should stuff something in the door or take it off?.........but we live with my family and have already taken over with all our crap everywhere and visual supports stuck to everything!]

What do people think on the way I'm handling ds's bedtime? Would love to hear other peoples strategies.

Cheers, over and out, sg x

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springgreens · 29/07/2006 07:53

Happy weekend all

My lil one (nearly 4) has ASD and like so many children finds going to sleep really hard in this weather (and during the winter time actually?! ).

I've gone through phases of using melatonin in the past - as long as he's fairly calm, it's very powerful at sending him off to sleep but makes for broken nights as the hormone wears off and he's up again after 4 hours.

For many months now, I haven't used it and have opted for leaving ds in his bedroom to settle himself to sleep. Unfortunately this takes 2 hours and at the moment 3 with him not sleeping until 10.30. His room is very safe with no stimulus (apart from the washing I haven't put away and the black out blind that he can peep behind to look at the garden). We use a baby gate to stop him from coming out, but the door is open so that he can hear that we're still there and I can monitor the noises he's making!

Although ds isn't distressed and crying out, I do feel guilty about him being left there for such a long time on his own in the dark. I would hate it! I do check him after about an hour and as and when required, but try to limit this as I know he's reinforced by the repitition of me going back in.

Do you think I'm out of order for just leaving him? I read in Catherine Moores book that she was able to cope much better when she stopped being stressed about her children not going to sleep and accepted that it maybe takes longer for children with ASD to wind down and settle themselves. Having said this, she writes of staying in her boys bedroom to keep an eye until they're actually asleep.

ds 'fills in' that it's 'time to "sleep"' and seems to understand that he needs to lay down and put his head on the pillow, but I've no strategy for making him stay in bed or sleep quicker. Am I out of order for leaving him to his own devices (stimming vocally and bouncing around) for this period of time once it's bedtime? This way, once he's asleep he'll sleep through to a reasonable hour that feels much easier to live with than the broken nights when I've 'drugged him'!. I do know he's safe and needs to rest, but he loves deep pressure and a current new trick is to put his hand as far as it will go into the gap where the door hinges. He then pushes on the door until it hurts his fingers/hand, takes them out with a chuckle, and starts the game again. [Maybe I should stuff something in the door or take it off?.........but we live with my family and have already taken over with all our crap everywhere and visual supports stuck to everything!]

What do people think on the way I'm handling ds's bedtime? Would love to hear other peoples strategies.

Cheers, over and out, sg x

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springgreens · 29/07/2006 07:54

I'm blummin hopeless at computers, sorry for double post!

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trinityrhino · 29/07/2006 07:58

hi, I'm sorry I have no experience in special needs at all, just thought I would bump this for you, I'm sure someone will be along soon that knows more about this kind of thing

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Davros · 29/07/2006 09:38

This is just how things were with our DS when he was younger. I think you should leave him and try not to go back. I find that going back or hanging around just stimulates my DS. I'd see it as his winding down time and this does often take people with ASD longer than others.

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springgreens · 29/07/2006 10:32

So are things more settled with your DS sleep-wise now Davros or has it just changed? Do you think it's best to not go back in at all? I agree he needs time to settle himself in this way. Cheers for getting back

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r3dh3d · 29/07/2006 11:50

I get this with DD1 who is just 2. She's not on melatonin, but she is on huge doses of anti-epileptics which should in theory make her sleepy - they don't!

She's still in a cot bed with the sides up so can't roam about the room; I'm dreading that stage as she trashes everything around her. I tend to leave the door shut or ajar but the way the cot is located if I open it really, really quietly I can peep in on her through the crack in the door. Plus we have a baby monitor in there so can hear if she "calls" (nonverbal but does now have a specific "come and get me" screech).

I believe you can get slow-release melatonin now, which might handle the waking and not going back to sleep - but I don't know anyone who has used it.

I think you're doing the best you can under the circs - I'd not go in if I were you because if you do you just add a behavioural reason for getting up to the wakefulness and then it's worse than before. Being in the dark is boring, but - being sleep deprived is worse for him.

Re: the hinges - you can get a safety device to stop this. There's one sort that is a strip that fits down the gap for the hinge all the way down the door which I think would be what you want. It's designed for NT toddler safety so you should be able to get it in a shop or at least an online kiddy retailer. Like this: www.thebabycatalogue.co.uk/prodinfo.asp?number=BSA002 though you may need two of them and of course as it's designed for younger children he may be able to remove it.

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springgreens · 29/07/2006 12:00

Thanks for the website and advice - will give that a look

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springgreens · 29/07/2006 12:36

r3dh3d I found the door guards on www.safetots.co.uk. Thanks again, sg

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sphil · 29/07/2006 19:13

Sg - DS2's sleep patterns sound exactly the same. He will often bounce and verbally stim for two hours before sleeping - more if he's had a nap during the day. He is sleeping through the night more often now (probably 50% of the time)but when he wakes he does the same thing - chatters away to himself, though he's MUCH less physically wired since we started the gf diet. We only go into him if he is distressed or is trying to attract our attention (both v rare)or if he is keeping us or DS1 awake (unfortunately a bit less rare!). He has got much better at settling himself back to sleep recently (keep everything crossed for me). My Mum has made him a weighted blanket which he threw on the floor last night when he first went to bed, but my Mum went into him at 4.30am and said that it seemed to relax him. (Are you realising why we come here for a holiday?!?)

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Jimjams2 · 29/07/2006 19:35

We do this. As ds1 has got older (he's now 7) I find that a lot of the time he does settle faster (especially in the winter). We do have odd nights, he was making the odd howl until about 10 pm last night.

I only go back up (he's shut in his room with 2 stair gates- one on top of the other- so same type of system as you) if I think he needs a poo (usually uh uh uh shouts that sound quite urgent!) otherwise we ignore the sounds. Like you I've found that going up to him just retarts the whole thing.

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jenk1 · 29/07/2006 19:44

im glad ive read this as we are having major problems with DD, we suspect ASD with her, she is terrible at going to sleep and we,ve had to resort to vallergan, but we,ve run out and the paed wont give us anymore as he said its only a temporary measure so,
Jimjams,davros,sphil et al please can you help.
Tonight we are going to give her a bath,then put her eczema creams on and give her a story and then start putting her in her cot.
DH is reluctant to leave her crying and is very soft with her so i will probably have to do this bit.
How did you sleep train your kids with ASD?
With DS i was on my own until he was 3 and just let him sleep with me and he didnt get out of our bed until he was 7
I definately dont want that happening with DD.
TIA

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Davros · 29/07/2006 20:10

We actually did Controlled Crying with DS when he was a baby/toddler although we didn't know that's what it was at the time! Basically we had no choice as nothing we did made any difference! He often had crying phases, and I now think that all babies and he was a "baby" for longer than most, often cry before going to sleep. The worst thing you can do is rush in and disturb them. If you can bare (sp?) to wait and set yourself a time, say 10 mins, when you will go and have another look you will almost definitely find that when the 10 mins is up the crying will have decreased or stopped. You then add a bit of time on if they're still not asleep and its getting easier and then next thing you know they're asleep.
That was many years ago and he's gone through many, many different phases of sleep patterns. Only 7 or so month ago I was giving him Melatonin to go to sleep and then Chloral Hydrate if he woke in the middle of the night - not using either of these at the moment!
Springgreens, I think that if your DS is just awake but not distressed then leave him. I saw in the Mothercare catalogue today a reaonably cheap video monitor, about £80 I think, that might put your mind at rest (or make you more anxious?!). My problem is when DS is distressed and howling, I feel I have no option but to hang around and that is why we had been using Melatonin at one time. He's happy as Larry these days and has had several months of falling asleep by 8.30pm! .... but then waking at 3.00am-4.00am! No free luch is there?

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Jimjams2 · 29/07/2006 20:18

ds1 actually slept very well as a baby, he owuld play with toys in his cot and fall asleep quite happily. If he woke in the night again he would play.

For us the key has always been to keep in his room. In his room he will settle and fall asleep eventually. He used to fall asleep on the floor and we'd move him into bed. So we've always used various contraptions to keep him secure.

We did use controlled crying when he was ?? about a year or something. I would put him to bed, then think , right i'm going to sort out the washing and if he's still crying at the end go in. I would give myself a specific job to do so I wasn't clock watching. Using that method he usually settled.

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jenk1 · 29/07/2006 20:25

Thanks for the advice, she.s in the bath now with DS (we are late due to the firemen-my thread on chat explains this!!!) and we are going to do controlled crying, so i will probably be up for a while yet!!!!

Incidentaly when DH worked nights and i did her routine she went to sleep at 8pm and woke up at 6am, since he,s been at home she doesnt sleep, hmmmm wonder if thats anything to do with it or it could be that she,s got older and knows her own mind and doesnt want to sleep.

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Davros · 29/07/2006 20:30

Good idea about doing a task rather than clock watching - that can be very stressful! I also agree that we have always kept DS in his room, when he was younger with a standard stair gate and then with a special security gate that is the same but full size. As the years have gone on though we have seen real progress that is measurble by looking at the safety precautions. We now leave DS in his room with the door open, in fact it can't be closed as the lock is turned iywsim as the knob on the inside fell out from him standing on it! At times in the past he has got up and come downstairs while we're still up and sometimes he has burst into our room in the small hours! But generally he stays upstairs and sometimes removes himself to the couch in the spare room.
I suppose the key is safety. Now he is older/bigger he is much safer around the house although I would always check up on him if he gets up. I also still use a baby monitor so I know if he's got up.
The NAS recently held a research day on Sleep Issues in Autism. I don't know the outcomes or if they have been disseminated. They also produce this information sheet, again I haven't seen it so don't know if its any good, can't hurt though?
here

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Jimjams2 · 29/07/2006 20:36

Davros where did you get the safety gate? DS1 is about to break out our contraption, I need something better (urgently!)

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Davros · 29/07/2006 20:39

Don't laugh, it was from Banham and it was a jeweller's gate. Bloody heavy it was too! It was relatively expensive but definitely worth it at the time. Maybe look at security gates in general?

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Jimjams2 · 29/07/2006 20:42

Was it metal? I'd worry about ds1 headbutting it!

It is on my list of products to develop, but we are starting as suppliers rather than developers (costs), so would love to source one in existence.......

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springgreens · 31/07/2006 09:13

That sounds like a good idea. I've just bought some strips to stop ds squashing his fingers in the door (for pleasure), thanks r3dh3d. www.safetots.com i think? was hard to find these. would be good if there was one site for these kinds of things.

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