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Old 03-13-2012, 04:41 AM
Location: Rogers, Arkansas
1,279 posts, read 4,591,419 times
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My son (just turned 4, severe speech delay, SPD, HFASD) sleeps really really badly. His twin sister and younger sister sleep ok, though it took all of them a long time to truly sleep through the night. The bedtime routine is fine and he goes to sleep well at about 7.30pm, but he will wake around 2-3 am and be awake for hours, sometimes never going back to sleep. He rarely takes a daytime nap either. My husband (his dad) has bad insomnia too, so there may be a genetic component, and I also read that there is some evidence ASD kids need less sleep than others.

He is a good kid, happy, but he is only 4 and between that and his issues, I don't feel I can sleep when he is awake (also he likes to run in a circle flapping his hands during his awake time at night...). We have tried the usual behavioural sleep aids (dark room, not talking to him etc- the opposite too, ie quiet music), melatonin and L-Tryptophan. I have a weighted blanket on order. Any other suggestions?
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:39 AM
Location: 89074
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My daughter (HFA) also has sleep issues, she never wants to go to bed and likes to sleep late like a teenager. I can't remember what time she went to bed at age 4, she is 11 now. But you might want to try a later bed time. If he is going to bed at 7:30 pm and waking at 2-3am, that's 7 hours sleep, a little light but doable. Try an hour later and see if he wakes at 4am, then perhaps a little later and so on. The worst case is you end up with a 4 year old with a late bedtime, but at least you would all get a night's sleep.
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Old 03-14-2012, 06:35 AM
Location: Rogers, Arkansas
1,279 posts, read 4,591,419 times
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Yeah... maybe I am spoilt with his twin who sleeps through from 7.30pm-ish to 7am. I thought kids that age need 12-14 hours sleep, but I guess not all of them!
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:09 AM
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We also have a genetic connection of HFA (You'd never guess of my dh!) He says that he remembers being a good boy when he was small, and didn't understand why he was punished by teachers at school. Looking at our son, we know perfectly well "why". Thanks goodness these are different times and they work with his behavior, instead of slapping him. So I inundated my dh with questions about his childhood (to gauge my son's possible development, but it made dh feel uncomfortable: he said it made him feel as if I constantly reminded him that he was no good. When I understood his feelings, I assured him that it was the opposite: I saw him as a reasonable, regular man, hence tried to understand if in the end of my son's development curve he'd become just like his dad, which would be great.)

So with the genetic connection, I would ask your husband, how bad it was in his childhood, and how gradually it became better (it didn't all the way obviously, but he seems to be managing? I agree each individual needs an individual amount of sleep time). These questions may make your husband feel inadequate, so just explain to him the framework of your asking. Also, ASD adults (your dh may or may not be) may have little memory of their young years, because they were so narrowly concentrated on their subject of interest in childhood, they didn't really care to know and memorize the world around them, including self-analysis. So that is tough to me personally, that my husband basically remembers himself mostly from 15 years old or so. Those few things he remembers of his 4-8 years of age are like precious jewels. (incidentally, it's mostly about the road he took back home, escaping school).

I was in torment for years with these questions (how is my son, now 7, going to be over the years?) - but recently, I see more and more of my son turning the corner. He is maturing, but on his own curve. Now he is basically what I expected him to be at 4, regarding emotional development. Suddenly, a "normal" regular behavior in restaurants and stores. It wasn't that way at 4, let me assure you! With dropping on the floor at 4 in stores, kicking nearest shelves, yelling that he wanted to go home - in short, the extended terrible twos. I think some people just have their own development curves, whether NT or ASD. You may be surprised how far different your son will be at 7.

On the side note, my sister (she's neurotypical) had a very weird wake/sleep schedule when she was in school, (and maintains to this day if she can): being awake till 2-3am, going to school 8-2, sleeping 4-7, awake 8-3am and so on. Nobody could talk her in conducting her life otherwise.

Last edited by nuala; 03-15-2012 at 10:29 AM..
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