Diving Back In

Why don’t I just dive back in.

We’ve started going to a behavioral psychologist once a week to try and solve our ongoing sleep issues once and for all. A lot of common sense strategies that work a lot of the time, but not all of the time. When John is up from 11:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m., for example, the sitting quietly in his room with my back facing him just doesn’t cut it. He is up and shouting and laughing and yelling “HI!!” and no amount of silent putting-him-back-into his bed (50 times, 100 times) will work. His body clock is just not like mine or yours, he is UP! at the oddest hours. And to say that they are odd hours makes it sound quaint or cute. It is not cute, so I will amend that to say he is up at the most brutal hours.

The next night, he may only be up from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. at which point I admit defeat and we get up to start the day.

And then there are the rare and delicious nights like last night. John left his bed at 2:50 a.m. I intercepted him in the hallway and silently walked him back and tucked him in. I took my post in the middle of the room, my back facing him, and after 20 minutes of nail-biting, heard the gentle sounds of him…sleeping. It is rare to find myself waking up alone at 7 a.m. and to not hear a peep.

Nevertheless, we are seeing a neurologist next week to rule out possible physical causes and to pursue medication. I cannot fathom giving a four-year-old something like risperdal, but it’s been mentioned to me by more than one doctor.

In other news, John is talking so much these days. He is really finding ways to communicate. Yesterday, after a long rainy day indoors, he came to me and said “Mommy’s car.” When I asked him where he wanted to go in Mommy’s car he said “Go to playground.” He can tell me he’s hungry (“Oatmeal!”) and tired (“Sleep!”) In the mornings when we’re getting ready for school, he retrieves a picture strip and reads: “I ride. The Bus. To. School”) Sometimes he repeats the last thing I say, an echo, but still — words are coming forth.

Last week his teacher called me, clearly excited. He is fascinated, she said, with the velcro-ed numbers on their class calendar and is always taking them off and hiding them around the room. That day she followed him and discovered that he only had the numbers 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30. He’s counting by fives.

And recently, amazingly, he drew a picture of many circles. When his teacher asked him what they were, he said “The planets,” and then proceeded to “name” them. It hangs in a special place in our house.

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  • Oh I just love the picture! But I am so sorry about the sleep. I don’t know what to say except that I will try to wish for more peaceful nights than not.

    Hang in there… And write when you can. Great update!

  • Just a suggestion for the sleeping issues (if you have not already tried) – melatonin can be a safe and helpful way to help your children sleep.

    I have four year old twin daughters on the spectrum who have been having sleeping issues recently and this was recommended to us by their pediatrician.

    So far it has worked very well.

  • Boy, if you get the sleep thing figured out let me know. We use a combination of Melatonin and Benedryl but I wish there were an easier way. I keep thinking we should go and see a neurologist about it but I’m not sure I’m ready to go the heavy-duty drug route. I’d love to hear whatever you find out.

    And the picture of the planets? Priceless. Isn’t it great to get a window into your boy?

  • Christine, I will definitely post after our visit with the neurologist. We are also signed up for a sleep clinic in June.

    MJ, we give melatonin every night and it works wonders for falling asleep. It just doesn’t KEEP him asleep. And a second dose when he wakes up in the middle of the night doesn’t work at all. Sadly the benadryl has the exact opposite effect on him…

  • Wow! A lot has been happening. Good for John! I would have framed that too. So cool.

    I’m really sorry to hear about the sleep. That’s really hard.

    I’m thrilled for the update! I love to hear about your guys.

  • LOVE the picture, and that John is counting by fives. And spontaneous speech always makes my day.

    I’m hoping the sleep issues are getting better!

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