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I have a 3 year old child who has been diagnosed as being Autistic, SPD, ADHD.  He has recently started Epilim for seizures he is having. This did not work and is now taking Tegretol to see if the seizures stop.

He is highly strung and on the go from the moment he gets up till he goes to bed at night.  His sleeping has always been an issue, to the point when he was 11mths old, we went to a residential sleep clinic for him, and even they admitted they couldn't do much to help.  Even though some nights he takes longer to go to sleep than others, his problem is staying asleep. We find he wakes during the night and can't go back to sleep. We have tried to leave him, but he gets very noisy so we go in and try to lay with him. Usually if he wakes he is awake for no less than 4 hours.  Very difficult when we have two younger children.  I am extremely tired and starting to get very worn down.. He was given melatonin to try, but he had the adverse reaction and was awake for nights on end.  

He is a beautiful little boy, but does have problems on occassion with aggression, problem solving and social skills.  His speech was delayed, but with the assistance of a therapist, we are finding he is now starting to speak very well...

I am in two minds about asking the Dr for assistance in relation to sleeping medications, but starting to feel that its our only option. I feel by medicating him, I am letting him down in some way.  I am interested in what other medications children with autism taking and what are the pros and cons that parents have noticed..

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Hi Chris! First of all BIG HUGS! Been there done that and REFUSE to do it over again! We had the EXACT same problems with our youngest! He didn't sleep through the night till he was 4!! It was HELL, he had night terrors, and just like your child MIGHT fall asleep but within 2 or 3 hours was up for the rest of the night! He didn't even nap and I had a 3 year old that felt VERY out of sorts and jealous of the "attention"! I remember once taking him to a pediatrician and he had just bit through his brothers back and would bang his head on chairs, corners of walls etc. He had black bruises on his head and people would stare at me - as though I did it! So I had the 2 kids and the youngest was FREAKING out, banging his head on the examination table, the floor, trying to bite me etc. and head but me! So I am staring at this "professional" BEGGING him to help us! And he said "Have you seen the video "Ready Set Breathe"? I looked at him perplexed and he says "It teaches you how to not get overwhelmed with all of this, and how to breathe through his freaking out!" I felt like someone had stabbed me in the stomach! So he pats my son on the head tells me "good luck" and left the office! While my boy was banging his head against the window!!! So we walk out into the waiting room and he FLIPS OUT - you those moments when ALL the parents are staring at you (as though this has not happened to them) - and he was writhing on the floor banging his head and screaming unknown words! I swore he was possessed! I will NEVER forget that moment, I wanted to grab my other sons hand and walk out forever!  :$ THEN at THAT moment it got worse (I work for an international delivery company) in walked a delivery guy (delivering a parcel) and I really didn't like this guy (found him VERY cocky and stand offish etc.) and he saw me and said these words - that I will NEVER forget - "Here, you take your eldest son and I will take him!" He picks up my SHOCKED son, tells him "Enough you are upsetting your mommy!" (which was funny, because he couldn't speak well till about 3 1/2) and put his arm around me gave me the strongest hug I have EVER had, grabbed hold of the stroller, and walked me to the elevator, down and out to my car! Put my TOTALLY silent child in his seat, gave my eldest a shake on his hair! And said "You WILL be OK!" I will NEVER forget that! And we NEVER talked about it!

I wanted and needed the professional to HELP US remain as a family! As Social Services was always involved in his life - due to his disability and his lack of growth etc.! I always had in the back of my mind that IF someone didn't help me, I would either leave or worse was going to happen! Even though it is taboo to talk about - and I think this is SO SO wrong to NOT talk about - we have ALL had THAT moment where we look at them and say "BE QUIET BE QUIET BE QUIET!" And it is such a FINE line between THAT moment and going past it never to return! We tried EVERYTHING = Melatonin was not available in Canada then - and NOTHING worked ZIP NADDA! And I prayed like you would NOT believe! On my knees beside my bed BEGGING God to help us! And NOTHING came! People wouldn't babysit, I wasn't refered to respite then (they don't tell you until you ask) and my marriage suffered SO much, it still isn't right - and he is turning 16 in 10 days! The guilt I felt for NOT knowing what to do, to help my baby, to help my husband have a good night sleep before going to work at 4 am (I would take my son out into our trailer at 2am!!!! I took him for a walk once at 3:15!! carrying a knife LOL) AND I worked everyday from 2pm to 10pm so I too would have about 2 or 3 hours a night of sleep (no sleep in the day as I had 2 kids under 5) The ONLY thing that worked for me was Capaccinno's LOL I STILL can't get enough of them! I would basically go through one of those Nestle boxes a day!!! I STILL am tired! ;-D Seriously!

He had sleeping problems - like SEVERE night terrors (he kicked and punched holes in his bedroom walls, and would wake up COVERED in sweat and SCREAMING at the top of his lungs, we eventually put up plastic corrugated wall panels so he didn't wreck more walls! And then we tried Melatonin and warm milk! this is the ONLY way he gets to sleep, and I am sure you have already tried warm milk (is your son also lactose intollerent like my son is?) as there are great milks out there without lactose! Since you are a WONDERFUL mom and have tried EVERYTHING under the sun FOR your son! It's time to do EVERYTHING under the sun for YOU and the others in your family! And ask for medical help and receive it gratefully and get some needed rest, so YOU can be the BEST mom and on the ball - to coordinate ALL his appointments, and help him with his needs and the needs of your family AND yourself! There were times, I couldn't remember driving anywhere, or IF I had driven through red lights, or what song was playing! I was a walking talking zombie and STILL punish myself with ALWAYS feeling tired! They say that mothers are ALWAYS lacking in rest - as the rest they lost when their babies were little, can NEVER be replenished!

So reach out honey - I'm sure my above Essay has helped you already feel sleepy!!! LOL Now it's time for baby boy to be sleepy - it's for NOW it's NOT for ever! As he learns more and can do more, the resting part WILL get better I PROMISE! BUT until then you need help OK honey? You are NOT failing him! You are in fact teaching him and the rest of your family that you CAN make the right choices for ALL and do what is NEEDED for harmony, health and happiness in the house! I wish to you that STRONG hug I felt all those years ago! God bless you and yours honey!
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Since your son is three, most medications that could make a difference, for example ADD medications, do have age restriction at about 5 years old. Anxyolitics that have mild sedative effect fall in that age category also, if they are even allowed for kids under 12. But, you are  in different situation here and I believe that there is no shame at all in getting all the help you can. I know that you might feel like medication here is the easy way and that you are failing your son - but it is not helping either if all of you stay awake night after night. So, I feel that you should at least try in coordination with your son's doctor to try to find something that will in a minimal dosage have at least some effect. And the problem is now, since he is taking Tegretol, I'm not sure if maybe this medication would interfere with any supplement or anything else I could recommend. But at least talk with the doc and see what are the options.
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Well said! How come I can't be short and sweet like you Nikols!!!? LOL

And to Chris - I've been thinking about you all night! My diatribe brought back a LOT of memories of years ago! And I truly don't envy you in your position, but you do need to think about yourself and your family as a whole! As I'm sure everyone isn't sleeping from him not sleeping! Our children sound VERY similar, and my son DID finally "outgrow it" so I wish the same for you honey!
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