I’m writing this towards the end of a bad day. So yes, it’ll be biased and mostly negative however, it is in attempt to share what is going on in a typical day of an Autism Dad, a fragment of a day at least. Let’s you into why we get this way and how the continuous aspects of autism-related things take our capacity. As of late my frustration is the lack of sleep and autism sleep aids we need. Or I need more naps- and money, Always need more money.
Autism Sleep Aid
We are blessed to a large extent because I hear a lot of people having problems with sleep over all for ASD. With Panzon for the most part he get’s to bed daily at a set time and falls quickly for the entire night. A good solid 7-10 hours nightly. I’m pleased with this because
- I get some alone time which usually results in 15-30 min before I pass out.
- With autism sleep and rest is a huge. Their body needs time to heal and sleep is the best time.
- Allows me to get the other two kids to sleep or at a minimum at least tuck them in with a kiss.
The Panzon has had a bit of trouble falling asleep as of late. Usually it takes him 15-30 minutes to get to the stage where I can exit the room. Past two nights he has had more verbal stims then normal waiting to go to bed. He has a lot more movement in bed and wants to throw pillows off the bed. This is confusing to me because he normally sleeps with 3-5 pillows covering him completely.
We have a set way he get’s to sleep. Remember that patterns are important. Panzon has an autism sleep aid that is a baby-song-projector that we use each night. We have one for our travels as well. Shit, we have almost the identical bed set-up in our vacation home including the oversized teddy he sleeps with. Again, playing into the pattern concept there to control the outcome. Works for him and works for us.
This projector plays one of 3 nursery rhymes and can project a cartoon-style scene on the ceiling. There are three we can choose from and the best part is the timer for 15 min with auto-off. This works great since it has conditioned him to stim-out, play or me massage his head for the first 15 minutes of bedtime but once the music and light goes off he knows that it’s bedtime. He literally moves into position, gets comfortable almost immediately and usually a minute later is passed out. Win.
The Autism Pee-Pee at Night
Panzon still wears a nighttime big kid diaper for accidents. He’s been potty trained for over a year and is a champ. In the past 6 months he’s once wet his diaper until this past weekend. Now twice in three days. Which presents a problem, or maybe a good thing. Panzon is not very fond of clothes let alone a wet diaper. At 5 years old he’s already a solid kid and a strong bladder to boot. That’s a big pee.
So he is awakened by the pee accident (that is contained to the diaper thank God) and wants to take it off. Sometimes he’ll do so, throw on the floor and continue to sleep but this past weekend wanted our attention. Both times at 4/5 am. Not good since two days in a row with a total of 7 hours for me, Monday start of the week and lot’s to do at work. Makes for a cranky Autism Dad.
So butt-early (no pun intended) he comes running into our room, throws the door open – not a simple open but a solid push slam of the door. He stims some verbals and let’s us know “hey guys I am up and needs this taken care of.” One of us is cool to jump up and get him prepped and situated but it’s usually a fake “I’m sleeping you do it” kind of pass-off. Not because we don’t want to but because we don’t want to get it up – it’s a sleep thing.
So now he is up, one of us is half-awake while the other trying to remain asleep. I usually bitch a bit because I have to get up and get to work and no sleep makes me cranky and an asshole. Running a business noone likes an asshiole and as I get older I’m trying to be a better boss.
5 AM Breakfast
So he is up, changed and dry and has an iPad or iPhone at this point and in our bed or the adjacent chair in our room. Some stims and “action” going on that keeps the one who got up awake and the other fighting to stay asleep. So why not go get him his yogurt, a fresh mixed juice (he usually announces “juice juice juice” anyways) and get pancakes made. Now the dog hears you downstairs and wants to go outside, I have to be quiet like I am robber because I am always accused that my breathing on the opposite side of the house is too loud. So Dog comes in and wants a treat and that has to be done with sound precision and I’m more annoyed that I can just open a bag for a dog treat. Now let’s get out the pan for pancakes and juice out too. Shit, I have to get some supplements in there and turning those containers on the side creates sound and then I have to mix the juice! This requires a little battery-operated mixer for lattes and will make noise! FUCK! See the stress levels here?
All this makes you cranky as fuck at 5 AM. But, it’s for the right reasons, for my Panzon.
Essential Oil Autism Sleep Aid
A new recent avenue we have been exploring are essential oils. More for the scent in the air now then on the body; we’ll get there in the next few months. I’ve been exposed to essential oils for a bit and chose to write it off for a long time. Now after some success with the Frankincense induced GcMAF cream we gave the essential oil a try in his room.
We were able to purchase one on our weekly trip to Better Health where we get a his organic veggies for juice and other snackable items. Oh and chicken too- they have good chicken that is organic non-steroid free-range live on a farm type chicken. I punn it but we pay dearly for the good stuff. Again, anything for the Panzon to help him along.
I started the essential oil diffusing about two weeks ago and can say that aside from smelling nice in his room for :30 before bed it’s not done much. Maybe, just maybe that Frankincense oil is the cause of his early rising this past two days? Who’s to know yet, I’ll give it my proper 30 day trial and benchmark what the good and bad are. Thus far all ABA reports daily are positive and school daily too has been positive so thus far it can be contributed to a positive uptick in his cognitive abilities.
So in the recap of things the sleep as of late (for him and me too) has sucked and we have packed schedules. Monday was a long day and I’m cranky, so in reality the essential oil diffuser does not do a whole lot for me. Now it’s time to get in a good workout before putting him to sleep again tonight and get some rest for me. But doesn’t that suck that you’re so tired all day and at night your body i like”Hey let’s get some things done now” after you get the kids to bed when all you need to do is get some sleep?