Ironically, most nights I'd sleep just fine ... if the kids would let me. James in particular has become a challenge. I had heard that sometime kids on the spectrum have difficulties with staying asleep and getting enough sleep. For the first five years, this was not an issue, unless James was ill.
Then November 2010 struck, and suddenly, I'd wake up and find James standing in the middle of a cold, dark house. Motionless, and setting the stage for catching a cold and making me worry that he'd unlock the door and take off one night.
Then he'd get up at ungodly hours and expect to start his day. As early as 3-frickin' ack-emma. S-l-o-w-l-y I got him into the routine of resting with lights out, quiet and door open (before 6am); lights on, door closed and playing quietly (between 6 and 7; iPad permissible after 6:30); play with iPad in or out of room or quiet video time (between 7 and 8).
I've tried some melatonin, with limited success. I almost welcome colds because then I can break out the Benedryl (or at least it's generic equivalent). I try to keep to a consistent bedtime and ensure that James has had enough exercise during the day. Being able to sleep through the night is still an issue.
The sofa and I have become good friends and I'm not exactly happy about that. Because now if I'm not in the sofa, James will yell for me nonstop until I appear and wake up the entire house. I know, I set that up to happen. Still have nightmares about the unlocked door though.
So I was really excited to read on Autism Speaks' blog that there will be a webchat titled Sleep Strategies for Children with Autism: A Parent’s Guide on February 21. Tips *and* a toolkit? I'll be there (unless I am so tired that I forget, in which case I'll still visit the website and get the toolkit).
Now, I am off to read my daughter some Charlie Bone, and snuggle up to the sofa.