HELP FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH ASPERGER'S & HIGH-FUNCTIONING AUTISM

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Sleep Disturbance in Kids and Teens on the Autism Spectrum

“Any advice for helping our HFA child (age 6) with sleep difficulties? She has a hard time getting to sleep, will wake up numerous times through the night. We have a real chore with trying to wake her up in the morning, and we are getting reports from her teacher that she frequently doses off during class.”

Sleep disturbance is common in kids and teens with Asperger’s (AS) and High Functioning Autism (HFA) at all levels of cognitive functioning. Sleep disturbance correlates with family distress and may have significant effects on daytime functioning and quality of life for these young people. In some cases, there may be an identifiable cause (e.g., obstructive sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux).  Assessment and treatment for sleep problems are guided by history and physical examination. When there is not an identifiable medical cause, behavioral interventions often are effective (e.g., sleep-hygiene measures, restriction of daytime sleep, positive bedtime routines, extinction procedures).

Relatively little information is available regarding drug treatment for sleep issues in kids with AS and HFA or other developmental disorders. Recommendations typically are based on case reports and open-label trials, extrapolation from the adult literature, and expert consensus.

There is some evidence of problems with melatonin-regulation in kids on the autism spectrum. Melatonin may be effective in improving sleep onset in young people with sleep/wake disorders. A recent study suggested that controlled-release melatonin improved sleep in a group of 25 kids with AS and HFA, and that treatment gains were maintained at 1- and 2-year follow-up. Many children on the autism spectrum respond well (with no apparent adverse effects) to treatment with the melatonin receptor agonist “ramelteon.”

Trazodone, α2-agonists, newer non-benzodiazepine hypnotic agents (e.g., zolpidem and zaleplon), chloral hydrate, benzodiazepines, and antihistamines are sometimes used to treat pediatric insomnia. In some cases, other conditions (e.g., epilepsy, depression, anxiety, aggressive outbursts, etc.) warrant drug treatment, and an agent that also assists with sleep can be chosen.


The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

  
COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... Cranio sacral therapy should do the trick
•    Anonymous said... Our son used to do the same and she suggested taking melatonin 20 min before bed ' it's an over the counter supplement. Helped a lot.ask your Dr about it because there are different doses available.
•    Anonymous said... See your specialist about getting a script for melatonin, works wonders, is a natural thing , also look at her mattress that will also help
•    Anonymous said... Tart Cherry juice before bedtime naturally produces and releases melatonin. This has helped my son as well as using essential oil Lavendar on his feet before going to bed every night.
•    Anonymous said... We do a 1 mg melatonin split in half.
•    Anonymous said... We used valerian hops homeopathic drops and after a while they did the trick!! More restful than agitated sleep too. X

*   Anonymous said... my son slept in my bed for years..being close caused him to be more calm and therefore fall back to sleep quicker than if he was alone.. its to do with how much their brain works..if there is stuff it is trying to process no chance its going to let the person sleep until the processing has been done.. look after yourself through it ..use afternoon naps etc..

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2 comments:

Gee said...

We use 6 mg of melatonin but our son is on many other medications for his Aspergers

Gee said...

My son takes 6 mg of melatonin along with several medications. He is 7 yrs old and when my husband and I do get a full night of sleep we are blessed. Also our little man needs to sleep through the night. He has Aspergers, hyfunctional autism and the list of diagnoses goes on.

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the Aspergers child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually. Thus, the best treatment for Aspergers children and teens is, without a doubt, “social skills training.”

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How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and the Asperger’s child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

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Parenting Defiant Aspergers Teens

Although Aspergers is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager with Aspergers are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the Aspergers teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

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Aspergers Children “Block-Out” Their Emotions

Parenting children with Aspergers and HFA can be a daunting task. In layman’s terms, Aspergers is a developmental disability that affects the way children develop and understand the world around them, and is directly linked to their senses and sensory processing. This means they often use certain behaviors to block out their emotions or response to pain.

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Older Teens and Young Adult Children With Aspergers Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with Aspergers face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

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Living with an Aspergers Spouse/Partner

Research reveals that the divorce rate for people with Aspergers is around 80%. Why so high!? The answer may be found in how the symptoms of Aspergers affect intimate relationships. People with Aspergers often find it difficult to understand others and express themselves. They may seem to lose interest in people over time, appear aloof, and are often mistaken as self-centered, vain individuals.

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Online Parent Coaching for Parents of Asperger's Children

If you’re the parent of a child with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism, you know it can be a struggle from time to time. Your child may be experiencing: obsessive routines; problems coping in social situations; intense tantrums and meltdowns; over-sensitivity to sounds, tastes, smells and sights; preoccupation with one subject of interest; and being overwhelmed by even the smallest of changes. The hardest part is you feel like you’ll never actually get to know your child and how he/she views the world.

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