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Let Sleeping Colts Lie

Posted by Christa Milner on August 23, 2012 at 9:35 AM

Colt slept in his own room by himself start to finish 2 nights in a row!  Ok so I know he is 11 years old and why has this not happened before this? Sleep for Colt has always been very difficult, he has severe OCD and Anxiety with his Asperger's Syndrome. Bedtime has always been such a problem for him. 

Our story and sleep.  From the beginning Colt never slept through the night and to get him to go to sleep was a challenge as well.   The energy would ramp up at bedtime it was like he just ate a pound of sugar and he would go crazy.  Even as a baby he would just cry and cry unable to give up.  We tried everything with a set bedtime schedule, relaxation music, turning everything off in his room, nothing worked.  I remember physically holding him in his bed trying just to get his body to give up.  Once he was asleep he could not stay asleep he would be up at Midnight, 2 AM and believe me if he was up Rod or I was up with him as who knows what he got into.  Our doctor suggested Melatonin around the age of 5. We tried it and it worked. We could at least get him to sleep at a decent time (10PM).  Staying a sleep still was an issue, around the age of 7 we bought a weighted blanket.  Not any weighted blanket a 10lb heavy duty weighted blanket. This worked as well,  we figured out a way for him to sleep through the night!  

Next step to get him to go to sleep by himself.  Once he and his body understood sleep as a ritual that had to be done, the anxiety  and the OCD set in.   At bedtime when his body would relax his mind would take over, the fear of not waking up in the morning, someone coming in our house, and many more irrational but real fears for him.  Yes, we saw Psychologists, and councelors to help him with these fears; but if you have ever dealt with a child with Asperger's there is no convincing once their mind is set.  Some times we could not sleep in his bedroom for fear of someone coming in his window so many months we would have to sleep on the couch in the living room.  We would move back and forth between able to sleep in his room or on the couch.  Many nights by the time I would get him to sleep I would fall asleep and just stay wherever we had fallen for the night.  

This summer we realized that sleeping in a sleeping bag gave Colt a lot of comfort and he would be able to sleep in the same room with someone.  They did not have to lay right beside him checking his heart rate (fear of his heart stop beating), he could lay across the room.  So at this point I was able to go to my own bed he would sleep on the floor of our bedroom and was able to sleep through the night! So the last 2 nights Colt has voluntarily went to his own room and sleeping in his own bed going to sleep all alone!  I am so proud of him.  Now the problem is I have to retrain my body on how to sleep through the night.  

I have been thinking a lot about where Colt is today and how we got to this point.  Anxiety is real and it can cause so much termoil in a little body.  Behaviors are driven by anxiety during the day, sleep is effected at night.  I know many have criticized me for homeschooling but look where we are now.  Colt is happy, his body is relaxed and he feels good about himself.  

I have learned as a parent is that people's energy can affect my son in more ways than anyone can imagine.   How he is treated by other's he intermalizes and it comes out in "behaviors" and more anxiety.  My job as his mom is to give him a safe environment to be able to express all emotions.  I once wanted him to do all these things and force him to be in groups and around people he may not feel comfortable.  Now, I look for quality people for him to be around and learn from.  Quality over quantity, pure love over ignorance, these are the people who are important for him to be able to grow.  

I wish all of you a beautiful day take time to listen to your child today what are their behaviors really saying?


Categories: Raising a Colt by Christa Milner

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