Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Zion's Insomnia

I don't really know what to do anymore about Zion's insomnia. He no longer takes a nap so he should be really tired when bedtime comes around. Last night he was up till almost two, finding new ways to get me to come into his room.

At 11 p.m. he is standing in his room, throwing things at our door. He thought that I was asleep in there, but I was actually working on the computer in the kitchen. I scared him half to death when I walked up on him throwing the objects. I told him to get back in bed and took away the toys he was throwing. I turned off his music and tried to turn off the light...but he started crying so violently I turned it back on. He is very, very, scared of the dark. And hates night lights.

At 1 a.m. I thought I heard a movie playing somewhere. Sure enough Zion had his little DVD player, that they use to motivate him during therapy, on the table watching a movie. I guess they had forgotten to put it up yesterday. I put that away and tried to get him back to bed and tucked in.

He loves it when I have to go in there. Timeouts and spankings do not work. So we have to get creative. We threaten to turn off the light, or turn off the music, to take away his trains (that he lines up everynight in bed alongside him). But then once everything is gone he is still awake.

Two nights ago. We had already went to bed. Zion was in his bed also but not asleep. I woke to the sound of water, I get up and Zion is dancing in the toilet. Water everywhere. So I grab him as he is laughing at me and thunder him down into his bed and tuck him in again. He is up within ten minutes. It goes on like that for about two hours everynight.

We are actually thinking about replacing his door with one of those half farm doors, so that we can see in, but he can't get out. I am already in the process of putting everything in his room in containers so they are not easily accessable to him at night. If he sees something across the room, he will get it and bring into bed with him. By morning he has a pile of things that are pushing against him. Usually he is curled up into a small ball, because he no longer has room to spread out in bed.

Insomnia is so common in children with Autism. I just thought it would never happen to Zion. He used to be such a great sleeper. And I guess he still is once he goes to sleep. He slept to almost ten today....because he was up all night! I have heard of parents that are so exhausted because their children with autism never go to sleep. I hope that I have experienced the worst of it because I am already exhausted.

I have heard of a school somewhere on the East Coast that includes in their therapy extensive Physical Education. Its goal is to wear the children out with activity so that they will sleep during the night. I need this! Maybe I will get him into a team sport. Do they even take kids with Autism?

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