Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A New Sleeping Challenge

A common trait of kiddos with autism is that they don't sleep very well....and Ethan is a TERRIBLE sleeper. Thanks to a sound machine, a few calmly moving night lights, a pacifier, and a weighted stuffed lizard, Ethan was been able to get 10-12 hours of sleep during the school year....even if that meant dropping his afternoon nap.

And if my loving Ethan did not get his sleep.....yowza! Look out! He is super whiny & teary! (He gets that from me.) So, we were very strict with Ethan's 7:30pm bedtime so he could get enough sleep & get up on time for morning preschool. Now that summer is here, however, we have been very laxed on his bedtime. Ethan has been going to bed around 9pm (unless he shows signs of needing to go to bed earlier), and waking up about 8am. His summer preschool is in the afternoon as will his new preschool time starting this fall.

However, the last several weeks have been rough ones. Ethan will get up & out of bed almost every night between 3am & 6am. He then wanders the house & can't find us. We finally wake up to hear him crying because, as he says through his tears, "Ethan lost Mommy." One day, we even found him in our construction zone basement...scary.

We have been trying to get him to understand that if it's dark when he wakes up, that he can come to our bedroom.....that's where mommy & daddy will be when it's dark. But it hasn't clicked yet. So, because I don't want him to be scared or hurt himself, I have been sleeping on the couch in the living room....and we installed additional locks on our basement & outside doors.

Well, the last 2 nights, he has found his way into our bedroom.....but he is still crying.

This is such a new sleeping challenge for us. Until now, Ethan has always laid in bed until we would go open his door & get him up. So, I'm really glad that he has realized that he can get out of bed on his own, but now we need to help him know what to do next.

We have been talking about marking our floors with colored tape arrows. The first set would be to go potty & the 2nd set would be to our bedroom. Or maybe some kind of alarm on his door that alerts us when it is opened. I don't know....I need to do more research.

Because of all of this, Ethan now will randomly repeat what I have told him by saying, "Mommy won't leave you alone. Mommy will always be in the house." And now he is my constant shadow. While I do love that my boy wants to hang out with me so much, I know that it is coming from a place of fear.....and I don't want that for him. Plus, I'm sooo tired during the days now that we are hardly doing any home therapy....and I don't like that either!

Well, if anyone has any ideas, please comment & let me know. I will do more research as well & tell you all how it goes from here. My coffee pot is working overtime these last few weeks!


  1. Oh, Jessica! Sleep issues are the worst! When you're tired, everything is harder to cope with. If I find any ideas, I'll send 'em your way!

  2. Sure! There are bells that you can hang on the door knob to hear when someone opens the door....... Corey didn't like mine.......... but they worked!!