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"The schools do not understand the characteristics of ASD..."

"My 8-year-old son has ASD and ADHD. The schools do not understand the characteristics of autism spectrum disorder, let alone recognize it. What do parents do to get the schools to help these kids; they do have rights!"


You, the parent, need to educate your child's teacher. Use the following information as a start:

Tips for teachers re: "understanding ASD characteristics":

Teaching a youngster with ASD (high-functioning autism) can seem daunting, especially if you are unfamiliar with the disorder. But it doesn’t have to be. If you are about to teach a student with ASD, understanding the syndrome is your best preparation.

Kids on the spectrum tend to have normal or above-normal intelligence and high verbal skills, though they may have a hard time expressing their thoughts. As younger kids, they may show the ability to focus on one task for a long period of time, but they typically do not understand sarcasm, innuendo, or double meaning and have a hard time reading body language and social clues. Teachers are more likely to see boys rather than girls with the disorder.

Kids with autism may have a very specific and even obsessive interest, such as baseball statistics, trains, or dinosaurs. If a youngster in your class is interested in a particular subject, incorporating it into your teaching, when appropriate, can help keep him focused on the lesson.
 

Following the "Rules"—

Because many kids with ASD have difficulty with social interaction, they sometimes appear to be misbehaving when they don’t mean to be. Some kids do not realize that classroom rules apply to them. They may develop their own ‘rules’ and have a high demand to be perfect.

While some students with ASD can focus on one subject, you might find they have trouble concentrating in other areas. A visual cue, such as a yellow warning card placed on the desk for distracting behavior or personalized instructions for what to do during downtime can help keep a youngster focused.

As students grow older and school routines change, different tactics might help. One school used a peer educator to help the student with ASD. The peer educator would meet him at his locker in the morning, because he wouldn’t remember which book to bring. It helped cue him about what he needed to get together. Sitting the student next to compassionate students or kids with similar interests, such as baseball, improved the atmosphere.

Enlisting Peers—

Teaching your students about autism can help them handle with maturity and compassion the challenges classmates with the disorder can present. While many students may not grasp the concept of the autistic spectrum, they can understand that certain kids are more sensitive and need a bit of extra help. Some parents may choose to come have a discussion about ASD, while others may leave talking about people’s individual differences to the teachers. One class had a discussion about differences and bullying, led by student council leaders, that helped include his student with ASD.

Kids at that age don’t understand disabilities unless they’re explained. It isn’t that he’s trying to be this way, it’s just the way he was born. They can relate in that way. I’m not even sure I used the word autism.

Helping your students understand ASD, or at least recognize some of its traits, will help them cope when they experience a meltdown. One teacher would often ask her student’s peer educator to help him calm down by walking with him. He just needed time to have a quieter environment where he could settle down and talk about what he’s upset about. It wasn’t easy for him to brush things off, but he could get control, come back, and be part of the group again.
 

Giving a youngster time to recompose—by sitting in a special “study desk” or talking to a counselor or teacher in the hall—can help get things back to normal. Ask what caused the meltdown: for a younger kid, it might be the texture of a pencil; an older kid may have felt flustered when the room got too chaotic. But be warned: Sometimes they may not be able to express what happened without a little digging on your part.

A tiny shift in environment can make a huge difference for kids with ASD. If you’re not sure just what tiny shift your environment needs, experts recommend talking to the parents, who will most likely know their youngster better than anyone else.

Keeping Good Communication—

Meeting with parents and kids separately before school starts, if possible, is one good way to transition into a new year. One teacher also shows the kids their desks, lockers, and the restroom. Expect that things might be a bit rough for a few weeks. Just like you’re getting to know your new students, they are trying to figure you out, too—while adjusting to a new schedule and new surroundings as well. Woods says that a positive change in the demeanor of a youngster with ASD typically happens after a few weeks, once they feel more comfortable in their setting.

Keeping the line of communication with parents open, be it through e-mail or notes sent home, can help them work together to provide a positive learning environment. The goal is to help kids with autism learn and be able to adapt socially, and teachers need to consider every way of reaching them.

Think outside the box and try different things. Find out what makes them tick.
 

Best Comment:

I feel like the worse parent in the world,  I have a 14 year old who was just recently diagnosed with ASD's. I have just started reading your blogs and I find them very informative.   I knew all along that it was Autism but every professional I went to just added another label.  It started with ADHD and sensory in kindergarten, then OCD, ODD (grade 1), Tourettes(grade 3), over anxious disorder, non verbal learning disorder, executive dysfunction Grade 7, and finally ASD in Grade 9.

Anyways a big problem for my son is anxiety.  I recognized this at a very early age, my son was a bed wetter up until the age of 8 and he would hide it from his father for fear that his father would be mad.  In Kindergarten and Grade 1 if my son had a bad day at school he was punished at home.  His father would take everything away.  A problem arose at school where my son would freak out afraid that the staff would tell his father.  The anxiety over getting in trouble was bigger than the actual behaviors.

When his father became physically abusive in Grade 3 I left.  I have been doing it on my own ever since.  I have lost my career as a teacher because I have had to miss so much time to attend to my son.  He always had a severe dislike of school.  In Grade 1 he would either run or fight.  If a staff member cornered him when he was upset he would physically lash out.  My son was restrained, locked in rubber rooms and more often sent home.

I would physically have to carry my son to school on several occasions but he quickly became too big.  The last time I forced him to go to school 3 years ago he jumped out of a moving car.  Now my days exist of pleading, bribing, reasoning, begging etc just to get him to school.  Some days he out right refuses to go , other days I get him to the parking lot and he cries hysterically.

On the days I get him to school he quite often is sent home, for refusing to do his work or for crying.  Other days he says he simply cannot handle it and leaves.

I have been fighting the school to get supports for my son.  Currently he is in a segregated classroom for 2 1/2 hours a day.  I don't think the lack of structure in this classroom is working,  there are always different people in and out.  I want an aid for my son to accompany him to the regular classroom. 
 

I have wrote a letter of appeal to the School board and the department of education as follows:

MORE COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said… Evan gives me a hard time about going to school but once we're out of the house he seems fine. He's only been to one party this year and it was for one of Sam's friends. Good luck with the party! I hope he has a good time smile emoticon
•    Anonymous said… Get an advocate........I volunteer as one where I live......schools give parents a rough time.....when they bring in someone who knows special ed law for the state......there's a whole different attitude......advocates are volunteers so there's no cost.......in an advocate and when my sons had meetings.....I took my own advocate..
•    Anonymous said… He actually does best with adults which is was one of the first red flags for his teacher. He for the most part is content to sit quietly by himself. His grades are excellent and he works ahead of most of his class. Anonymous said… I am another parent who eventually gave up on our public schools in 4th grade. We have a virtual charter school program, which is public, but all online at home. Now in 10th grade, headed to early college classes to finish high school. Brilliant techie! He will always be quirky, but not disabled in the way the schools tried to define him. Play to their strengths-- and always, always be on your child's side, you know them best
•    Anonymous said… I am reading some amazing books. A friend of mine also has me started with using essential oil blends, they do help. I just found a couple of these groups recently. But, knowing what I know now makes it a lot easier in communicating more effectively with him. I will definitely let you know if I find one locally.
•    Anonymous said… I am still all new to this thinking my son was only ADHD. I am awaiting confirmation from the doctor. But, everything I have read are characteristics of my sons behaviors. Still trying to find a support group.
•    Anonymous said… I am trying to find this puffy that you can make at home with Evan. I am going to try it tonight. It is supposed to be very good for sensory issues. But, it is something for everyone.
•    Anonymous said… I don't know how or what laws are in place in different states,but my son was in a charter school since kindergarten until the beginning of 4th grade I knew he had Aspergers very early but he didn't get fully diagnosed until last year .Then he finally received an IEP plan .The charter school wasn't equipped with people that were empathetic to my sons learning issues and it was too much of a lax environment.I moved to a different county and home schooled for a few months but he hated it,it wasn't structured enough for him.So his first time in public school was a few months ago and lucky he got into a school that deals with IEP's regularly so he loves school. You have to definitely advocate for your kid/s to get an IEP or 504 plan by law in CA the schools have to abide by it or find a school that will and provide transportation as well to and from the school willing to work with your child.It's a process but it's worth it in the end.It's ridiculous that there are teachers that treat kids like ours like they are bad or not willing to listen.SMH why teach? My son had an evil fourth grade teacher that would laugh at his nervous movements.I reported her but the charter school did nothing.Now his teacher is a straight gift from the teacher god's! Lol I just wish schools would be more empathetic towards our kids.
•    Anonymous said… I know exactly how you feel. No problem!
•    Anonymous said… I pulled my son out of public school. He was being bullied by the kids and the teachers. He is homeschooled now, and he loves it.
•    Anonymous said… It's been frustrating because we've been saying for 2 years that we thought Ev had Aspergers and no one would listen. His kindergarten teacher is AMAZING and she mentioned it to me after doing research on her own. She helped us get the ball rolling.
•    Anonymous said… I've been looking at psychologists for Ev to maybe get him help with socializing at school. That's where he has the most trouble
•    Anonymous said… Let me know how it turns out. I need to find stuff to keep them occupied next week. We're gonna take them to the Museum next week. They have a Lego exhibit and all 3 of them enjoy Legos
•    Anonymous said… My 10 year old sons school ( bardfield primary) didn't understand my sons needs and didn't want him there, wanted me to change he's school so took him out of school all together an home tutoring him now, best move I made
•    Anonymous said… oh dear my two boys have asd and i see its so common that some.of our kids dont manage to finish school frown emoticon xx
•    Anonymous said… Oh, I know... And the sooner it is caught the sooner intervention can start. Let me guess he gets along with kids either younger or older. But, just doesn't mesh with his peers. Easily frustrated switching tasks.
•    Anonymous said… Reading all these problems gob smack me .Its the same as our grandson .He told us that he lives in a different world to other people and if he could write it all down everything would be just fine .He likes one on one no interferance from any one .He wont go to school either and in NZ only one doctor who can access the mind of children with asperges and she has gone private .So the people who dont have the money get shoved at the back of the line.
•    Anonymous said… Same here we now home educated all four kids. My two boys with autism were 5 and 7 and I couldn't allow school to fail them further. I'd tried two schools with my 7 year old the first was appalling the second better but just not equipped to manage and I noticed they started to belittle them. I now have different boys they are so much happier. To be honest my 9 year old is much happier too and my youngest will never experience school. I wish I'd never but them in school.
•    Anonymous said… Sounds like Evan. Breaks my heart daily. I'll look them up. Thank you!
•    Anonymous said… They never understood mine? Don't believe me? Ask LISD from the 80s, 90s, and early 00s. Social Media had came back to haunt them in NTX area.
•    Anonymous said… Unfortunately the reason the schools are not recognising these conditions. Is that there is very little training for the teachers around this. Keep pushing the schools. I take information about Autism and Adhd and give it to the teacher's.
•    Anonymous said… Yep. Hopefully, you can get some things in place during the summer. The girls like my son but the boys tease him a lot. I am letting him go to a birthday party next Friday. I think he is excited because it is Jaks Warehouse.
•    Anonymous said… Yep. There is a new one at St. Margarets Dyer. Her name is Ashlyn and she is great!!! She is actually the only person that connected the dots for Riese. Just waiting for clinical diagnosis.

Post your comment below…

Teenage Son with ASD has Stopped Going to School

Question

We are desperately trying to motivate our teenager [with autism spectrum disorder] to graduate from high school. He is a senior who needs 20 more credits to graduate. He has stopped going to school. Any advice? HELP!!!

Answer 

Every teen with ASD is unique, but when you face a challenge like teenage dropouts, you are never alone. Countless individuals have faced the exact same situation and have survived and thrived. Teenage dropouts are all too common - and occur for a variety of reasons, including over-indulgent and over-protective parenting, mental illness, gangs, drugs, indifferent teachers, and just generally bad choices. 
 
Dropping out of school seems like a good option for teens on the spectrum who are bored in school and feel rejected by their peer group. But they often have a rude awakening once they drop out and have no place to turn.

How you can help:
  • Make the curriculum more interesting.
  • Offer advice on other teenage dropouts.

What to say:
  • Tell them how much you care about them.
  • "What’s your plan?”
  • "How can I help?”

What not to say:
  • "Yeah, that’s a good idea."
  • "Don't do it."
  • "Don’t worry."

In many states, once a teen turns sixteen years old, he or she can drop out of school. Some school systems are now reporting an alarming increase in the amount of drop outs that occur yearly. What can moms and dads and educators do to keep these teens in school? 

By the time a teen reaches the age of sixteen, half of the battle may already be lost. Moms and dads need to instill a love of learning when their kids are small. Moms and dads should begin reading to their kids when they are babies. As kids grow, moms and dads should encourage their kids to excel in school. High expectations should become evident even when kids are in preschool.

As kids move from elementary school into middle school, many kids are left behind academically. If a youngster falls behind in one subject, a parent should take action immediately. Both moms and dads and teachers should communicate in order to plan a successful course of action. A youngster may need extra tutoring, or if there are problems at home, counseling may be in order. 
 
If a parent questions their youngster’s ability, testing may need to be conducted to determine if that youngster has a learning disability. A learning disability, such as dyslexia, can inhibit a youngster’s progress in school, and this will leave the youngster feeling discouraged and inept, prompting even poorer academic performance.

It is also important to encourage your son with ASD to be involved in school related activities as much as possible. The more active your youngster becomes, the less time he’ll have to think about failure. Encourage him to go out for sports and academic teams, band or chorus, and drama. 
 
If he is not really the academic type, help him to find a niche that he really loves, such as welding, auto mechanics, carpentry, drafting, and graphic arts. The key to instilling a need and desire for success in your youngster is to help him find what he is successful at doing. 
 

Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances which can lead to a drop in a youngster’s grades. These circumstances may include a youngster’s illness, a recent move, problems at home, such as a divorce or death, or unexplained emotional problems. It is extremely important that these problems be addressed promptly. If left unattended, the problems could escalate, and when a teen reaches the age that he can legally withdraw from school, he may simply give up.

If you are struggling with a teen that seems apathetic to his academic career, you need to discern what the root problem might be. If the youngster is struggling with a particular subject or subjects, he may need extra tutoring. As a parent, you can encourage your youngster by spending time working with him in the evening. If you don’t feel knowledgeable enough to tutor your youngster, you can arrange for help from someone else.

Many schools now have afternoon tutoring available to help students who are falling behind. Some schools also have “last chance” programs. These programs are typically given at night or on the weekends. They offer students a chance to take a subject or subjects that they have failed, so that they might still be able to graduate on time.

As a parent, you should realize that there may be more serious causes behind your teen’s lack of ambition. Drug abuse is a real problem among teens in today’s society. If you feel that your youngster is exhibiting signs of drug abuse, you should have him tested immediately. If he tests positive, you will need to decide on a direct course of action. 
 
It is also important to remember that even if you succeed in helping your youngster get off drugs, he will still be inundated with temptation if he is hanging with his same crowd of friends. You and your youngster may need to make some serious decisions regarding his every day environment.

Finally, never give up on your son. There may be times when both he and you are discouraged about his academic success. Try to hide your discouragement as much as possible, and, instead, let him see that you believe in him and have high expectations that he will succeed.

==> Discipline for Defiant Aspergers Teens


COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said… A senior who still has 20 credits to earn (half of the required number to graduate with a diploma, not a certificate) isn't interested in graduating high school. Home schooling won't change this. Alternate schooling won't change this. Only the Aspie's mindset will change this. If he cannot be motivated and he cannot motivate himself to buckle down to business and earn the outstanding credits, he will not graduate high school in the time allotted by the department or ministry of education in his state or province.
•    Anonymous said… Can't you look at things another way? What are his hopes and aspirations for his future. What work does he want to do? If it's something he needs exams and qualifications for (sorry, english so don't get your system) then point out that these boring credits he must earn are a step he must take to get there. If otherwise, investigate work experience and apprenticeships, things to look good on a CV and give hands on experience of employment. Ultimately we want our children supporting themselves independantly, and conventional routes may not always work, so find others. Good luck!
•    Anonymous said… Homeschool instead! Either with an online program through the school system or with something completely different of your/his choosing.
•    Anonymous said… I would love to homeschool my daughter but I am afraid she will use that online time for computer games or unrelated school things.
•    Anonymous said… No it's not. It's just a different way that they see the world. All they may hear is 'you're a failure' rather than 'you need to do xy and z to succeed' and that will just push them in a downward spiral.
•    Anonymous said… Same boat. My son is very close to high school exam and he does not have motivation to study. I am thinking of a new environment for him however Vietnam does not yet have homeschooling or online learning for high school. I dont know what to do. Pls advise! Thanks.
•    Anonymous said… Sometimes it's a matter of giving him the environment he needs. Does your state have online school? If he can do his studies in the comfort of his own home where you can easily review his progress , that might be a better way.
•    Anonymous said… That's justification for poor choices on the part of the Aspie.

Post your comment below…

Sleep Problems in Teens on the Autism Spectrum

Question

I'm a single mother and don't know how to deal with my 13 yr old anymore. He doesn't want to go anywhere or do anything which is hard when you have to, and I am now homeschooling him due to trouble going to school. A big problem right now is sleep issues… he is so active at night and tired during the day. At the moment he is not falling asleep till about 1 or 2 am, and I've tried waking him up earlier to reset his body clock but I can't get him out of bed. I don't know how to get him back into a healthy sleep routine.

Answer

Studies find that approximately 73% of kids with ASD level 1 (high-functioning autism) experience sleep problems, and these problems tend to last longer in this group than they do for kids without ASD. For example, kids on the spectrum are more likely to be sluggish and disoriented after waking. Laboratory research has begun to describe the unique physiological presentation associated with sleep problems in kids with ASD, including disruptions in the sleep stage most associated with cognitive functioning (i.e., REM or Rapid Eye Movement sleep). In addition to physiological differences, some of the sleep difficulties in this population may be related to anxiety.

The impact of poor sleep is unequivocal. Poor sleep negatively impacts mood and exacerbates selective attention problems commonly found in kids with ASD, as well as impairing other aspects of cognitive function.
 

There is no one panacea to manage sleep problems in autistic kids. However, there are many interventions that are likely to be helpful. In general, moms and dads need to understand and be prepared for resistance to change that these kids often show. Moms and dads should also be prepared for problems to get worse before they get better as kids often initially challenge but then gradually become accustomed to new routines.

A good place to start an intervention targeted at improving sleep is changing lifestyle behaviors and environmental conditions that can influence sleep/wake patterns. These include exercise, napping, diet, and aspects of the bedroom and sleep routine.

Exercise & Activity—

The goal is decreasing arousal as bedtime approaches. To achieve this it may be useful to have a scheduled period before bedtime (approximately 30-45 minutes) in which the aim is calmness and relaxation. During that period, media such as television, computers, electronic games, and music should be limited as they can stimulate the youngster through activity, sound, and light. 
 
The availability of VCR and DVR technology makes it easier to control when kids can watch particular shows, thereby avoiding conflict over missing favorite programs that are shown in the late evening. The presence of televisions in kid’s bedrooms has been consistently associated with sleep problems and should be avoided at all costs. Likewise, computer access in a youngster’s bedroom is discouraged for sleep as well as for safety reasons.

In general, exercise during the day is associated with better sleep. However, exercise within 2-4 hours of bedtime can lead to difficulties in falling asleep, as it can disrupt the natural cooling process of the body that leads to rest at night. Having the youngster soak their body, particularly their head, in a calm bath that is as warm as can be tolerated 90 minutes before bedtime may be useful too. 
 
When the youngster gets out of the bath, core body temperature will drop rapidly; this is believed to help them to fall asleep faster. Using a waterproof pillow and avoiding the pulsation associated with showers is recommended. The use of progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing and imagery exercises is the most widely researched treatment for insomnia in kids and may be useful for kids with autism as well.

Napping—

Controlled and limited (e.g., 20-30 minutes) napping is generally positive. However, longer daytime sleeping can be negative in that it makes it more difficult for the youngster to fall asleep at the ideal time in the evening. If the youngster’s sleep problems are associated with falling asleep, which is common for kids on the spectrum, it is advisable to avoid daytime napping.

Diet—

It is recommended that kids with sleep problems avoid all caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, high fat food, and monosodium glutamate (MSG). In contrast, food rich in protein may promote better sleep. Large meals within 2-3 hours of bedtime should also be avoided. A small carbohydrate/protein snack, such as whole wheat bread and low-fat cheese or milk before bedtime can be helpful to minimize nighttime hunger and stimulate the release of neuro-chemicals associated with falling asleep. For kids who often wake during the night to use the bathroom, and then have trouble falling back asleep, limited fluid intake in the 2 hours prior to bedtime is also recommended.

Melatonin is a natural brain hormone associated with sleep onset. There is some evidence that natural production of melatonin may be reduced in these young people on the spectrum. While melatonin supplements may be useful, a common side effect may be increased sluggishness in the morning. As discussed above, this is already a common problem for kids with autism. Use of melatonin and other alternative remedies should be discussed with a physician.
 

The Bedroom—

It is important that the bed and the bedroom are associated with sleep and are not associated with activity. When kids have sleep problems, it is highly recommended that their bed and bedroom activity be limited to sleep only. It is important to make sure that extreme changes in temperature are avoided during the night. 
 
Increasing light is associated with decreases in the release of the neuro-chemical melatonin which triggers sleep onset. Thus, it is important to get the sunlight flowing in the youngster’s room as soon as possible in the morning. Conversely, darkening the room at night is critical. When a youngster’s fear of the dark is an issue, behavioral psychotherapy may be necessary. We also recommend moving the clock so that the youngster is not watching the time while lying in bed.

Sleep Routine—

Setting and maintaining a regular time to sleep and wake may be critical. Moms and dads often make the mistake of allowing their kids to sleep much later on non-school days to “make up” for sleep. While this may be useful to a certain extent, allowing the youngster to sleep late in the day makes it difficult for them to fall asleep at an ideal time later in the evening. It is easier to wake a sleeping youngster then to force an alert youngster to go to sleep. Thus, we recommend that you keep your youngster on a regular schedule on non-school days and avoid drastic changes in the time that the youngster wakes. 
 
Likewise, having your kids go to bed when they are not tired conditions them to be awake in bed. It is recommended that you let your kids stay up until they are tired while maintaining their waking time in the morning. Then once they begin falling asleep within 10 minutes of going to bed, begin to move bed time earlier by 15 minutes at a time.

With carefully monitoring and patience, many moms and dads can make changes in a youngster’s life that promote better sleep. Improved sleep supports better mood, sustained attention and general health. However, for many families professional consultation is often necessary to design or maintain the appropriate intervention. When you need help, speak with other moms and dads of special needs kids about their experiences and ask your primary care doctor for referrals to a sleep expert.
 
More resources for parents of children and teens on the autism spectrum:
 
____________________

Do you need the advice of a professional who specializes in parenting children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders?  Sign-up for Online Parent Coaching today.


COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said…  She said she was a single mom I assume she has to work to provide... so she may not be able to adjust her schedule... I am single mom of HFA 11yr old with simular issues... and I am debating homeschooling but I am only one person !!!!
•    Anonymous said… Exactly my thought. We have a 6pm rule. No electronics after that time. Increased his exercise, and it works for us. No drugs needed. X
•    Anonymous said… Exercise, no electronics on in the house after 6 (a bored brain is a tired one), wake up same time every time with daylight, and same basic diet. We do a fruit/veg/chia smoothie to start the day. My son loves to seek electronics at night (all electronics blocked during certain hrs and collect xbox and remotes every night)
•    Anonymous said… Go to your GP and try him on Melatonin, a natural hormone that helps us to sleep. We produce it in our bodies but some have less than others hence the difficulty sleeping. It may take a little while to find the right dosage that is agreeable to his body. My son is 13 and is on it. He was like a new born with sleep patterns until he was 6 yrs old. By 11 I was going nuts. He is much better now thank goodness and gets the rest that his body and mind needs to grow and function properly. You may have to restrict the internet/pc use at night and reward him with it during the day only so as to encourage him to sleep at night. The 'blue light' projected from the pc/laptop suppresses the normal secretion of melatonin and doesn't really help ones circadian rhythms. Getting off any electronic devices atleast an hour or two before regular bedtime allows the brain to begin the whole process of slowing down and releasing that melatonin. Look, I for one know that all of this information works but unless we as the parents/carers put it into practise, our kids will never do it. I'm not perfect, some days I forget to give my son his dose at the right time and then he's struggling to wake up at the right time the next morning and so I pay the price with his bad mood and getting to school on time etc. But we all have to start somewhere right? He was doing the school refusal thing last year and not wanting to leave the house or socialise at all. We enlisted the help of a psychologist who specialised in ASD and the school and recommitted to being the driving force behind implementing new routines. Baby steps was and is what it takes at the moment for my son and I. Its so tough for him especially I know, as I'm sure it is for your son but we have to push them out of their comfort zones for them to face challenges and grow from them. How else will they grow and learn? They wont! Plain and simple. Unfortunately its up to us. We become their "Executive Secretaries" as stated in the book "The Complete Guide to Aspergers Syndrome" by Tony Attwood.
I think I have gone on too much already but I hope you will find what your son needs to help him sleep and learn and grow. Wishing nothing but joy and success for our special Aspies!!!
•    Anonymous said… i also have a 12 yrs old with similar tendancies. Our Pead told us to avoid any Blue lights (whether that be in ceiling light or of electronics) after 4pm as it over stimulates their brain. I am now also trying reading before bed. I feel your pain
•    Anonymous said… I could have written this about my (undiagnosed) 11 year old. She also is now totally not Going to school (it's always been an issue but is much worse lately), she doesn't sleep and basically stays up all night every night (sometimes until 5-6am). She gets into bed ok at around11-12 but won't/can't sleep. She is very aggressive verbally and physically towards me almost all of the time and is very anxious. She doesn't go out with her friends or actually talk to them at all anymore. (She's never had tons of friends but now doesn't talk to the ones she did have) I'm also a single mum and have w younger daughter who is really effected by all this. It's so hard! I can't really offer any advice I'm waiting on things happening from the countless referrals that have gone in to community peads, cahms, child psychologist, education physcholigist etc xx
•    Anonymous said… I guess it doesnt work for everyone. If there is a physical activity or sport that he likes to do then try to do it everyday as it will help use up that 'boy' energy during the day. A bath or warm shower at night, a warm drink, reading some stories, di...See More
•    Anonymous said… If you're homeschooling anyway flip your schedule to match his. Do schoolin the afternoon. Theres a whole raft of studies about teen boys needing to sleep later. Make wake up time 10am and shift things. If the way everyone else does things isnt working for you and him create your own path.
•    Anonymous said… I'm not a Dr but have Aspergers girls and their consultants prescribed "Melatonin" it worked a treat to get their bodies back in a sleep routine and we only use it now if required. Hope this helps xx
•    Anonymous said… I've had similar issues, and since I've started to listen to his feelings, I work around him more now allowing him to sleep in as many days as possible, he is amuck happier boy all round for it 🏻
•    Anonymous said… Melatonin did nothing for our grand son any thing else
•    Anonymous said… My 8yr old grandson exactly the same.Wont go to school awake all night and his mum and dad cant get help for him in newzealand its shocking I feel sad for you.
•    Anonymous said… My Aspie son has just turned 17 and his sleeping patterns starting changing at about 13yrs old. I know how you feel and it's really hard. I'm now told by UK Social that my son is neglected and we can't parent him because we don't enforce his sleeping pattern and he lives for the Internet (it's the only form of Social life the poor boy has!). Can you flipping believe it! I don't know what to suggest tbh, because as you know it's not like parenting our sons when they were little boys where they knew bed time was bed time. It gets so much more challenging.
Maybe go onto "The National Autistic Society" website and go onto the Members Forum (you can browse as a "Guest"). There are so many parents in the same boat trying to manage their Teens through to Adulthood.
•    Anonymous said… my daughter doesnt go to bed till 1 or 2 am every day.....Melatonin diesnt wirk for her she needed stronger stuff but ended up ODing on perscription stuff....now we just let her stay up and I wake her at 7:45 for school every day
•    Anonymous said… My daughter had similar sleep pattern issues thru the early teens (although she did lots of drama classes in the evenings so socializing wasn't an issue). All teenagers naturally will stay awake later and sleep in. The beauty of home ed is we can accomodate their changed natural bio rhythms. I treasured my mornings to myself and we did educational stuff in the afternoons/evenings. Is there anything he would like enough to entice him out of the house? Other than saying don't worry, it will pass (it did with my daughter and I miss those precious me time mornings!) I don't know what to advise. But try not to worry too much about the sleep, it is normal and entirely natural during puberty, as is needing more sleep, instead explore ways to get him outside.
•    Anonymous said… My daughter takes melatonin a half hour before bedtime I give her 4mg in apple juice and she takes it other wise she would be up all night long. She's 12 and has been taking it since she was 2. No more sleep issues ever
•    Anonymous said… My Dr put my son on Clonidine 0.1mg to help him sleep at night otherwise he would be up all night
•    Anonymous said… My son is 11 and has a similar pattern. He has been on increasing doses of melatonin for 3 yrs. The problem is it us meant to only be given for a month then nothing then for another month, in an attempt to train the body. The breaks just send my son back into vampire mode within days. He was quite sick for a few day so Dr prescribed phenegan for anti nausea. This knocked him out.... you can buy over the counter from Boots, alot if chemists won't sell it to you though. But I found that boots did when I explained my son was aspie and it calmed him down. Understand this is only used when the melatonin is wearing off and body is used to it. I use it maybe once a month just so he gets a decent nights sleep @weekend.
Maybe worth a try as I know many Dr's don't like to prescribe melatonin unless forced. We get all his meds through Camhs xx
•    Anonymous said… Should talk to you'r doctor about what you can give him to help him sleep.May be you should look into a therapist to go to for help with your son. Has help with me.
•    Anonymous said… Society imposes routines that aren't fit for all, if he's feeling ok and is willing to take responsibility for himself and things that need to be done then maybe you could be more flexible. I say this because my 13yo son is in a similar position, I worry that he doesn't have a social life but he's much calmer out of school and no longer being bullied. I'm a single parent too and have to leave him home alone while I go to work, but he's safer there than he ever was in school.
•    Anonymous said… This sounds similar to what we experienced through the middle school years. Puberty is challenging for anyone, seems even more so for young people on the spectrum for some reason. Maybe because there was no go to rule book to reference since most info out there refers to neurotypical teens. It could be depression as well. Hang in there.
•    Anonymous said… Turn electronics OFF
•    Anonymous said… Unless you were/are an Aspie teenage with sleep problems, you dont have a clue what its like, it is not their fault REMEBER that! you can feed them all the tablets and chemicals you want but at the end of the day it only masks one of the many issue that we have to deal with, they are not the instigator they are the victim of their own biology.
•    Anonymous said… we do 3 mgs of Melatonin at night. I was amazed at how much it helped my 7 year old. You can take breaks on weekends and holidays if you want but during the week we use it each night. He even said, "mom! I actually slept last night!!!"
•    Anonymous said… We use 2 mg Clonidine and 3mg Melatonin for years. It was a life saver!
•    Anonymous said… We use melatonin 20 minutes before bed with a warning that the tv,electrinics/internet,will be off soon. After 20 minutes we remove tv remotes,game paddles,etc and turn off the lights. Works for us.
•    Anonymous said… Yes!! This can be a problem. Our teenager must have a sleep aid.
•    Anonymous said… Yes, melatonin does nothing for my sleepless son also 🙁

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