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Behavioral Issues or Sleep Problems Anyone????

Forum: Children with Developmental Delays and Disorders


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  • 2 Post By AutumnLove

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February 5th, 2012, 07:05 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 11
I'm new to the board, this being my second time posting, so I'll give you a little run down.

My son just turned two. We have no diagnosis for him other than (possibly) having apraxia. (A year ago he was 6-12 months delayed on everything but has since caught up pretty well except for speech, but in the last 3 months he has gained a ton of ground on speech too.) He has odd quirks, repetitive stereotypical behaviors, but the biggest problem (other than speech) is his behavior & his resistance to sleep.

He has EXTREME difficulty transitioning from one activity to another and becomes unconsolable when we do have to transition. He despises being placed on his back (and has since he was about 7 months old) which as you can imagine makes diaper changes rough. We do manage pretty well at the store, but we aren't in the store two minutes till there is crying/whining. At home is much worse. We usually don't go 1 day without there being 50+ crying/screaming fits. (He literally started the large amounts of crying/screaming when he was a few hours old, when he cried nearly non-stop the entire night, and they have never stopped, though they have upped in frequency since he's gotten older.) Some last under a minute. Some last 30 minutes. He has also recently become quite aggressive toward me when he's angry for any reason. He's been in behavioral therapy for a few months now, and everytime we curb one behavior, another one pops up ten times worse than the first, it seems.

My son is a hilarious, loving little boy, but I feel like we don't often get to enjoy that & he doesn't get to enjoy being a kid.

He spends so much time upset, and we spend so much time trying to deal with that, that I feel like we, as a family, miss out on a lot of the good stuff. At the end of the day I am mentally exhausted. Does anyone else ever feel this way?

His sleep patterns have always been non-existant. Since he was born he's barely slept for any amount of time without waking up and has had to be coaxed to sleep, which still, at 2 years old, consists of 1-2 hours of my husband or I rocking him. (Sometimes he fights sleep so hard that he will kick, wiggle, and scream as we rock him, no matter how tired he is.) After spending all of that time getting him to sleep, he might sleep an hour, or he might sleep 15 minutes, before waking up. He wakes up anywhere from 2 times (that's a great night) to 10 times a night.

Does anyone elses child fight sleep so hard? Does anyone else have a kid that can NOT stay asleep?

Thanks for reading this. I'm just looking to share experiences and to know I'm not alone. (I know that I am not alone, but it feels good to hear from others that might be having the same struggles.)
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February 6th, 2012, 07:34 AM
AutumnLove's Avatar Autumn & Carleigh's mommy
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: California!
Posts: 7,269
Just a couple of ideas for you...

Deep pressure! Look into that, and try applying it to him when he is headed towards a meltdown, if he is stressed, and especially before bed. IF you can get him a weighted blanket DO IT! Those things are a lifesaver, we have two. One for our house, and one that goes between my parents houses. My daughter has anxiety, and the weighted blanket is our soother. We had many a meltdown at the age of 2 and 3, and we had such a hard time. I hope it eases for you soon.

Melatonin! It is all natural, and regulates sleep patterns. I have heard it has great effects on children, and adults I know that use it swear by it, and have said they do NOT feel drugged. Look into it, do some research and maybe give it a try.

I hope something helps you.. You deserve to see a smiling tot every single day. Good luck!

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February 6th, 2012, 07:47 AM
Carwen*Angel's Avatar Fly away on my zephyr
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Location: Manchester, UK
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I'm so sorry you're dealing with such a tough time right now!

We do have sleep issues with my son, but nothing like this - he struggles to go to sleep, but once asleep, he's usually fine, or wakes maybe once or twice and is fine about going back to sleep as soon as he sees everyone else is sleeping and it's still night time. And I was considering getting HIM a weighted blanket, just for those issues!

As for crying and meltdowns, we used to have those a lot more constantly when Daniel was 2-3. At both home and nursery, he would have crying tantrums, throw himself on the floor, sometimes bang his head on the floor/wall repeatedly, screaming fits, and get aggressive towards anybody approaching him. We found that pretty much everything triggered it - any change, any new person, any people crowding him too much, certain TV shows/themes/characters, certain foods, certain toys which were scaring him but he couldn't articulate it, uncomfortable clothes (most clothes), any spills or mess...the list goes on. As we have got to know his condition and get help for him at school, we've used visual timetables to "warn" him of what happens next and visual pictures to help him articulate if something is wrong, we've got to know what toys and TV shows bother him, and the children at school have learned not to crowd him; we've helped him get used to mess and showed him that mess is safe...so we have far less meltdowns now.

All I can really suggest is to look for the triggers. It may seem at the moment like it's constant, but there will BE triggers, no matter how frequent! And then put something in place to eliminate, prepare, warn or support your child through things that trigger this behaviour.

I do hope you can find something that helps!

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February 6th, 2012, 08:44 AM
AlexKatieAiden Mommy's Avatar Linda
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 3,009
Welcome MomToDom!!! The ladies have given you some really great suggestions on things that could help Dom (I'm assuming thats your sons name because of your screen name). (((HUGS))) Not getting a good nights sleep for long periods of time is beyond exhausting and makes it difficult to function. I would also suggest melatonin as a sleep aid. Its the hormone that your body produces naturally to get you to sleep. Here is some more information on melatonin... melatonin - Bing Health

Transitions can be difficult. My son had a really hard time until we started using visual cues to help him know what was going to happen next. We started slow, just making a basic visual for his bed time routine.

Now we use more complex visual schedules to help him transition. I was sceptical at first but after making the first bed time routine visual, I was amazed at how easily he started transitioning at bedtime. All I used to make it was clip art, some words, and then laminated it.
Here is a link to the thread where we all posted some pictures and links of things we use to help our kiddos. http://www.justmommies.com/forums/f1...wanna-see.html

Here is a good site that explains sensory processing disorder and has some good ideas about how to help your child. Sensory Processing Disorder Explained | SPD Foundation
Finding a good occupational therapist (OT) who does sensory integration therapy is always good. I know my son's OT was awesome and once we had his sensory issues under control he was able to attend to things and his speech took off.
I look forward to getting to know you and hope you stick around. Feel free to post any questions or anything you want to share, or even if you just need to vent.

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February 6th, 2012, 09:49 AM
SandKmommy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: North Idaho
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Seamus sounds similar to your kiddo. He's always been delayed in gross motor and fine motor since birth. Around 2yrs old he was caught up, for the most part, on his gross motor (still fine motor delayed). Around 2yrs old he started fighting sleep hard. He wouldn't nap and would only sleep 3-4hrs a night. That is what we thought caused alot of his behavior issues. We tried a few methods of getting him to sleep for around 7months. After none of it worked his Pedi started him on Melatonin. It was a life saver. He took it from just before 3yrs old till this summer right after he turned 5yrs old. He was just slightly under the max dose for his age, and it was starting to not work (his body was building a resistance to it). He got started on a prescription sleep aid in September.

i would try the melatonin, you can buy a bottle of chewable ones (strawberry flavored) from walmart. A bottle of 90 is $8, and found where all the vitamins are. I just to break them in halfs (the full pill is 5mg, your LO wont need that high) then into 4ths if it needed to be a lower dose.

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February 6th, 2012, 10:11 AM
Adriana's Mommy's Avatar I <3 my kids
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Inland Northwest
Posts: 7,977
I agree, the deep pressure helps SOOOOOO much with my 2 year old.. We use that technique when he has his meltdown.

My son is aggressive as well.. It's mostly due to his lack of communication. We are currently training him to use PEC's cards. I hope this will help with his anger issues..

Have you looked into a developmental preschool? I can't tell you how much my son has grown since he started to go there.. My son has only been there a few weeks and he has not hit, head butted, crab pinched, kicked,etc any person there.. He seems to be more happier. The reason why is there is constant interaction for him. What is nice about a developmental preschool is if you get therapy service, they will do therapy there, and then the teacher will continue the therapy, and then when the parents pick them up, the therapy continues. Our goal for A.J is we need to do the same that the therapist and teachers do, so there is consistency. It's literally 24/7. Not just 20 or so hours a week.. Hopefully at his young age we can help him deal with his issues and by the time he is in Kindergarten, he won't need therapy anymore..

As for night, My son had sleeping problems since he was 3 months old.. But he had asthma and was not breathing normally. However we did the CIO method with him at age one years old.. At that time, keep in mind we had no idea he had Autism.. It took us 2 weeks to get him to lay down and sleep in his bed.. My husband and I are working parents so we need a solution. It was the LONGEST two weeks of my life but it paid out in the end. Not saying this will be good for you, but the CIO worked for us..

Good luck in what solutions you do..

Last edited by Adriana's Mommy; February 6th, 2012 at 04:22 PM.
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February 6th, 2012, 10:33 AM
Adriana's Mommy's Avatar I <3 my kids
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Inland Northwest
Posts: 7,977
I hope it's alright if I share this video with you. In the beginning of the video, they talk about a boy named Christian.. Christian sounds so much like my A.J. We hope with intensive therapy starting at age 2 will help reduce his autism issues so that it's not noticeable. In the interview, Christian's Psychologist said it is possible.. Kinda gives me hope..

Diagnosis Autism - YouTube

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February 7th, 2012, 11:11 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 11
Thank you all so much for your input.a

Lady Valkyrie- My son has issues with tv shows too. It started months ago, but has gotten worse lately. He can love an episode of one of his favorite shows one day and be hysterically terrified of it the next. We have pinpointed that most of the time it is when a person/character sings or says a word while elongating the vowel sound. Such as "ooooooh." So we are constantly on the look out for that.

Adriana's Mommy- There's an early childhood here for developmentally delayed children from ages 2-4. I have heard it's a great program from my son's therapists. We had talked about possibly sending him to that for an hour a week starting out, to see if he took to it ok. (You can send your child to it anywhere from an hour a week to full-time.)

Thank you all for the weighted blanket & melatonin suggestions. And thanks alexkaitieaiden mommy for the visual cues suggestion. I think that might be something good to try with my son.
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February 13th, 2012, 08:22 AM
greenchild's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: MN
Posts: 15,839
sorry I'm a little late coming into this, but Kaiden had some of the same sleep issues. This started when he was about 21 months old??? Because his 2 yr molars were coming in, we attributed his nighttime behavior to that. Well, the all the molars came in and we still had the behavior. I dealt with it the best I could, rocking him for what seemed like hours, and I'd be up anywhere from 2 - 6x per night with him, trying to rock him back to sleep. He was awake every night from around 12:30am - 4:30am. and he did NOT want to be by himself. But he still wouldn't sleep if we co-slept, he'd just kick the crap out of me!! It wasn't night terrors which is what most people assumed . . . we tried melatonin, and it had absolutely NO effect on him . . . we tried CIO, going in there every few minutes to calm/comfort . . . this kid could scream for HOURS. We tried everything we could think of . . . and as it turned out, the solution was super simple. He needed an earlier bedtime. Just figured that out a couple months ago. He just turned 3 last month, so I had a little more than a year of almost no sleep . . .There is quite literally NO CHANGE in his behavior thru the evening no matter how late he stays up. he could play all evening . . . for awhile, he wouldn't go to sleep before midnight. Then it was around 11pm. then around 10 pm. Then I started putting him to bed around 9 (he'd still stay up). Then I put him to bed around 8 AND HE SLEPT! During this time, some days he'd nap, other days he didn't - and naps didn't seem to affect his bedtime at all!! which was super frustrating. Then there was a few days where he didn't nap, and fell asleep around 7. found out that was TOO early for him to go to bed, he'd sleep until midnight and be up until 4 am, same thing as earlier. So, now we have a tightly controlled sleeping schedule. he has a window during which he NEEDS to go to bed, between 8 - 8:15pm. He has rarely napped since ~ occasionally if he's acting tired, my DH will get him to take a nap during the day (he refuses to nap for me, so I let him just be tired and NOT nap) and honestly I get so mad at DH for doing that, bc it means a looooooooong night for me with that 4 hour awake/crying time.

Just wanted to share that in case it could help!!
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