Hi son is 9 with what I beleive is undiagnosed ASD... still attempting to get diagnosis.
Along with a host of symptoms that I won’t go in to on this post he struggles with sleep. This has been evident for years as he would struggle to switch off at night, l also suffers generalised and at times specific anxiety.
normally this is combatted with the use of a night light, ceiling fan and playing music.
However recently and especially during the holidays he has been struggling with his sleep, being out of routine hasn’t helped so I’m aware that this could be the main culprit. Even before Christmas break I realised on some mornings that when awakening I was finding him asleep with his iPad and headphones on, obvisouly getting up during the night and switching iPad on.
It is becoming more of an issue, I’m wondering whether to take iPad out of room at night although iPad is parental controlled and he doesn’t gain access to live play etc. I’m worried that it over stimulates him more.
last night we tried audio books but this didn’t work I also lay with him which can usually settle him but no and I put his iPad across the room, but at some point during the night he used it, I found him asleep this morning again with his head phones?
when asked why he uses it he says because he ‘ feels lonely when he wakes up from his dreams’ ?, L struggles with dreaming, when young claiming he didn’t dream?
we are attempting to establish more of a routine and get him more active to try and help, he’s only getting a couple of hours sleep a night at minute or if he goes to sleep it’s broken..
What do people recommend, should I remove iPad and make it a rule, he doesn’t read either so not an option either.
Im hoping getting back to school will help but I noticed on a couple off occasions this was occurring then too.
I’m sure there will be lots of advice and recommendations to follow. However I just thought it may help to know that at 56 yrs old I too go to sleep, wake up in the night and go back to sleep listening to my iPhone. What I listen to varies from podcasts, to radio iplayer sometimes white noise or YouTube of a flowing stream ( water).. You can put sleep timers on for various numbers of minutes so it switches off after a certain length. I find it hard to get deep R.E.M. sleep. When we go to bed our heads are crowded with all sorts of thoughts, dreams, worries, lists, etc and just trying to listen to something calm is really helpful. So for me listening at night helps me sleep not detract from it.
I drink a couple of glasses of wine Missy....this helps to temper an overactive brain...but is not recommended for a 9 year old.
Not helpful to those like me who lean towards depression either! So I steer clear generally but we all have our own ways to help.
When your son awakes from sleep, does he go straight for the iPad or does he use this as a last resort?
It could be that when he is awake, because he is on his own and everyone is asleep, he feels more alone and isolated as a result. Have you asked him whether he feels lonely because everyone else is asleep, or whether something before awaking has triggered a sense of isolation?
Sleep seems to be a common problem with ASD and I still have issues to this day. I used to listen to a radio with headphones as a child and still resort to music now. If he can get into good habits of managing his sleep disturbances and maintaining a routine to promote sleep, it will help him in the long run. It might be worth trying to find out how long he is awake for and when the iPad is used to try and get a better sense of whether using the iPad is a problem or whether he is already self-managing his sleep problems to the best of his ability.
Thank you for the input, we seem to have established some kind of sleep pattern for moment.
I asked that when he woke up he lay back down and closed his eyes and if he still couldn’t sleep he could colour or look at his pokemon book. He always has his music and fan on anyway.
this seems to have helped as I haven’t found him on iPad in a couple ff days. I think establishing boundaries for him helped as he new what was accepable during the night. So now he keeps his colouring book and pens by his bed. I also said if he woke up too worried or anxious he could come through to me and I would settle him back down.
think it helps he’s back at school, but now I’m struggling to get him out of bed in morning... not a fan of school.