SoftThistle Life

Maybe a Breakthrough?

AutismMarylin14 Comments

Two nights in a row now Max has been asleep before I had time to get him ready for bed.

Two nights in a row he's slept till about 7am in the morning (albeit with a wake-up at about 1am to sing/babble to himself in his bed, but at least he is happy to fall asleep again on his own).

That's gotta be good, right?

Maybe tonight will be night number three?

You know, Max used to be a great sleeper, when he couldn't climb out of his cot. That happened the day before I became a single mum again (my choice, but still, it's hard sometimes!).

He would climb out of his cot the second I was out of the room.

I sat in the boys' bedroom to see how he did it, but he just sat there, waiting for me to leave.

Within about three seconds of me closing over his bedroom door, he'd be opening it, looking at me, pleased as punch. "Look what I figured out Mum!" was the look on his face. That little glint in his eyes.

After a night of hearing him climb out of his cot, me going back in, putting him back in, going to bed, hearing him climb out of his cot just as I was getting comfy, getting up again to put him back... UGH.

Lets just say I took the bars off his cotbed the next day.

I didn't want him falling over in the middle of the night and hurting himself.

I also figured that, at least if I put a stair-gate across his door, he could play in his room with the lights off and (hopefully) climb into his bed again when he was tired/bored.

Of course this led to many a night of him sleeping in a curled up lil ball, bum in the air, right behind the door.

That was fun!

It also meant there were nights when he would literally be up, running around his room constantly, till about 11pm at night.

I really felt for Zack, who has to share a room with Max. He couldn't possibly be getting enough sleep, especially considering he was at school now.

I was reading as much as I could about sleeping and autistic children.

It's definitely not an uncommon problem.

Many people rely on weighted blankets, or even giving their child melatonin every evening before bed, as many ASD children seem to have a deficiency of the sleep-cycle hormone.

I doubted Max would let me wrap him up in anything, as he will even find a way to wriggle out of his sleeping bag these days, and the thought of medicating him, even though I know it wouldn't *harm* him, isn't a road I want to go down unless I've exhausted every other avenue. Plus, trying to get any sort of medicine down him is NOT easy. I would hate to have to go through that trauma (for both of us, and Zack, as he has to hear/put up with the crying and the tension too) every single night.

I've heard a lot of people talk about body-brushing for kids with sensory issues.

Max adores rough and tumble play, particularly things like going on the trampoline (though the weather is awful for it now... ick), me swinging him around, him being upside down, or running into me at full force. These all seem to give him a sensory 'fix' that helps to calm him down. Very different to our neuro-typical children - the last thing I want to do with Zack is anything to make him more excitable before bed.

I figured, I don't have a brush, but I'm pretty sure I could do my own 'version' of this.

So the last two nights we've been doing lots of the rough-play about 20 minutes after he's finished his tea. Lots of bouncing about, tickling, twirling around, and I rub him through his clothes very vigorously, his torso, his shoulders, down his arms and his legs. In between tickles and other things, so it's kept fun.

After about 30 minutes of this, I pop him and his big brother into my room, to settle down and watch cartoons for 30 min or so till bedtime.


Normally Zack will be asleep and Max still running around like mad by the time I've tidied up downstairs and it's time for bed.

The last two nights though, Zack has been wide awake (holidays, he's more rested) and... MAX has been ASLEEP within that 30 minutes.


Even when I've lifted him to change his bum and get him into his jammies he only half-wakes up.



It's amazing the difference it's made.

I definitely recommend it to anyone who has sensory issues.

It's worth a try right? For a GOOD bedtime?

I'm just hoping that so long as I carry this on, it's not been a fluke.

Fingers crossed tonight is the hat trick... time will tell!