Sensory Processing Disorder and getting to sleep

Alyn - posted on 01/30/2010 ( 36 moms have responded )

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My son had SPD and we have struggled with sleep issues (he won't go to sleep). I have tried a lot of different things, need more suggestions--something has to work. Any ideas?

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Kelli - posted on 02/08/2010

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Sometimes deep pressure is very calming for children with sensory processing problems. My daughter likes for me to lay on top of her. You can also use a big bouncy ball and with firm pressure, roll the ball up and down from calves to shoulders. Hope this helps. God Bless!

Alyn - posted on 02/04/2010

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wow--tons of responses. Looks like we are not alone! I have tried everything except the liquid melatonin and Chlonodine. I do know what type of SPD he has and have used the out of synch book alot--he quickly gets bored with what i put together though. His new diagnosis is developmental coordination disorder, sensory processing difficulties and sleep difficulties. Have an appointment next week for another eval. and just heard from the sleep/behavioral specialist (we were lost in the paperwork and were never called to schedule). Still waiting on the school speech---they haven't call me for a second meeting, so I assume they haven't tested him yet. I hate the waiting ...
Has anyone had school issues or needed services? My son, other than maybe speech, doesn't have any. Academically he is doing fine, though PE is hard for him (coordination issues and paying attention there) He is currently in an all day kindergarten in a private school. He will get lost in the public system (25-30 kids per class here), so I am LOVING the small class he is in and he is doing well. I am concerned that he may not get the special (if any) ed he may need. Anyone with similar issues?

Helen - posted on 02/02/2010

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Also took gymnastic classes after searchin for the perfect coach and gym one w/the works rock wall trampoline...that's also seem to work and I forgot w/age we have gotten better hand in there and god knows we still have our nites couple a month but our doctor told us some only need so much ??? Go figure ... :)

Robyn - posted on 02/02/2010

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Our 4 1/2 year old son also has SPD. I'm not sure how old your son is, but a checklist has always helped us get through ANY task (something we picked up from our OT). We use a dry erase board. On one side are a vertical row of velcro squares. We use these for pictures of activities. Next to each picture we write what it is. As you finish each activity (i.e. teeth brushing, pajamas, story reading) remove the picture and erase the description. This can be used in many different formats for virtually any activity(ies). Hope this helps. Good luck!

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Felisa - posted on 02/07/2010

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My son has SPD, ADHD, PTSD, Gen. Anxiety Disorder, and Asperger Disorder.....he also has a VERY hard time getting to sleep. Other than keeping to a strict bedtime ritual of stories and tucking in, he also takes Melatonin at night. This was suggested by his psychiatrist....might be something to talk to your son's dr. about. Hope this helps....

Sheri - posted on 02/06/2010

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i don't know how old your son is but my daughter is 18 and has insomnia, it's one symptom of RA. she takes some natural herbs to help her sleep and just found one that works, she takes a melatonin (we have melatonin in our bodies to help us sleep but her natural melatnonin is "broke" because of RA. she also takes Natural balance herbal slumber and the combo of both help her sleep and stay asleep. not sure if it would work for your son or not.

Michele - posted on 02/05/2010

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My son is almost 6 and still doesn't sleep all through the night without waking. He always wakes at about 1am and crawls in bed with me. He does finally go to bed on his own, though. Until my daughter was born when he was 22 months, he wouldn't go to sleep without being snuggled with me, but then I had to put my foot down. I used a process from a book I read. I stayed next to his bed while he went to sleep and let him snuggle my arm for a week. Then took my arm away for a week. Then sat a little back from the bed. Then by the door. Then outside the door with it open. Then closed the door. We had quite a few setbacks and the process took a really long time, but it did work.



We also have a nighttime routine. The kids have a hard time when we get home late (which very rarely happens. we're homebodies). We pick up, take a bath, read a book, say prayers, get into bed, tuck them in, say "Goodnight. I love you!" (very important), then turn off the light and shut the door. They don't come to the door anymore unless it's really important and they're 5 and 3. I didn't think I would ever get them "trained" but it did happen, so hang in there!



Oh, and don't forget lots of exercise (trampoline, smartcycle, and big spring-type bouncing horse are great indoor activities), and a good sensory diet! Turning down the lights and the tv off an hour before bed help too.



Good luck!

LAUREL - posted on 02/05/2010

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Melatonion worked, as well as mattress on floor in a cubby type spot,my childs sleep was alot to to with gravitational fears of falling,but as I also learned when you think you got it,chances are triggers will pop up to interfare with sleep anyway.my kiddo was 12 before she got real ot.I did not work early enough with ot,not anough knowledge about spd then.ALSO REMEMBER TO ALLOW YOUR SELF SUPPORT.My daughter was put in daycare by the state ,just so i could get sleep..good luck spd is defininately complicted,just keep up with support groups.I am new here with a almost 14 year old daughter who has spd

Lisette - posted on 02/05/2010

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I adopted my son and he suffered from this same disorder. I was unaware of his issues until after adopting him. I spent more than 2 yrs. trying to find a solution to his sleep issues. I took him to specialist after specialist to see if I could help him because by this point, we both needed sleep it was affecting the entire household. I couldn' sleep either from fear of leaving a toddler awake and when you have other children, sleep deprevation comes into play quickly. I went to see a nuero peds specialist who prescribed Clonidine. At first, I wa against medication but he wasn't sleeping enough to properly function either. He was cranky, he was learning somewhat behind his piers, and it seemed as if he were delayed. I tried this med only administered at night and within a week he as sleeping 5-6 hrs straight! Gradually it increased and his behavior during the day improved not because he was meded up, but because he was rested enough to concentrate. It was a life saver for us both. He only needed the med for about 8 months, as it helped him train his body to sleep. It must be weined off, but he had no sumptoms, adverse reactions, or problems when it came time to wein.

Melissa - posted on 02/04/2010

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I have never had trouble with my son sleeping 8 hours or taking a nap.. He has spd and is almost 2 and still has adversions to food, so any meds we have to put in his bottle. We have a routine, lights go dim, just a diaper for bed because linen isthe only fabric that he doesn't push away, so its a big heavy quilt.. He gets to watch one poetry or classical music show (which seems to calm him) and he gets a vanilla soy drink with all natural tummy soother (it has pooh on it and you can find it at any walmart) that has camomille in it....then the room has to be cool and quiet.... if it's not in this order he will kick his legs or rock his head until he falls asleep... i hope something in here will be of some use I know the fustration..

Lisa - posted on 02/04/2010

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Try a small dose of Melatonin. Melatonin is a natural chemical produced in the brain. you can find them at WalMart or any pharmacy. try the lowest dose which is 300mcg one time a day-usually an hour before bedtime, if it doesn't work go to the next dose which is 2mgs. I have used this with my kids-all have ADHD, Bipolar, Post tramatic Stress disorder and one even has borderline skitsophrenia.

Jill - posted on 02/04/2010

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When our daughter was younger, we used melatonin at the recommendation of our Pediatrician, psychiatrist, and integrative specialist. Our daughter has early onset bipolar disorder, and she has suffered from major sensory issues, as well as a sleep disorder. We used the Trader Joe's brand which contains a very small dose of melatonin and is chewable. This was like a miracle to us. With more sleep, her whole demeanor changed. As she's gotten older, many of the sensory issues have been resolved. However, it's always an option for her and she'll occasionally ask for it if she needs help falling asleep. You may want to ask your doctor to see if he/she thinks this could be an option for you.

Lisa - posted on 02/03/2010

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omg Bedtime is hell here ...my 4 year old still fights bed time...she use to get up and turn on light an play till wee hours sometimes 1-2am and then she wll go to bed on her on..was crazy /...if i had went in and made her go to be made it worse...and she did stay in her bedroom,,i got no sleep due to up till she finally went to bed. Now she dont do that but she needs a night light, music box, no top sheet and brushing and joint does help...its so reasuring that i am not the only one going through this...it can be sooo difficult and some people just dont get it(behavior issue) is what i hear ALot!!!! does any of you have trouble with eating...she will not eat...just giving up that struggle also....

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try a routine, the same thing every night. my daughter had sensory issues when she was younger and had a binky. it helped her. does he have anything that he's partial to? lots of stuffed animals helped too. she always liked to be cozy almost like she was being hugged all the time. she is 7 and still sleeps with lots of stuffies and blankets and still has a routine. a book called "the out of sync child has fur" or something to that effect may have some tips too. even weighted things, like a blanket. hope this helps.

Elizabeth - posted on 02/03/2010

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Co-morbid condition of ADHD...and I am off to pharmacy to pick up chlonodine for my 12 yo. Doc said it was better than melatonin (he's never been on it - throwing in the towel, since he just cannot get to sleep!).
Chlonodine stories anyone?
Elizabeth

Anita - posted on 02/03/2010

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Have you tried liquid melatonin? We have two like yours, and our psychologist suggested we try it, and it works like a dream with one, with the other one, it is still somewhat of a challenge to get her to sleep, but it is SOO much better. I order it online from Puritans Pride and it is about $2.00 per bottle when you order 5.

Erin - posted on 02/03/2010

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Hi Alyn: I really support the suggestions of the physical activity. If you have a mini trampoline, the kind with handle bar, that would be great. I see that you live in Oregon and trust me, I understand when you say about being limited for outdoor activities during certain times of the year. We used to live in Washington for a few years and it drove me crazy. Anyways, really try it and I think you will see a difference.

Michelle - posted on 02/03/2010

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Hi, Alyn. I have a lot of empathy for you. My sons didn't appear to have the ability to go to sleep on their own for years. The had autism & SPD. We used melatonin, but it only worked for a while. We finally had to resort to clonidine. It's a very old blood pressure medication used for a variety of things. It reduces the heart rate & relaxes the blood vessels which induces sleep. We gave our children a low dose of it every night & like clockwork they fell asleep 20 minutes later. It was a huge relief at the end of the day. They had no side effects. Our family doctor was the one who prescribed it. It was actually a safe & simple solution to a very distressing problem. I highly reccomend it!!! The name brand is called Catapres, but we always got the generic called Clonidine. It's really cheap too because it's been on the market since the 50's. It's long history also gave me some peace about what I was putting into my kids' bodies. It didn't harm them at all. It won't hurt to try it & if on the outside chance it doesn't work then you've only wasted a little effort & very little money. Give a try though & I'd bet you'll both sleep!

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Have you seen an OT (occupational therapist) yet who specializes in SPD to pinpoint exactly what areas of SPD he has? Also, If you have not already, purchased "The-Out-Of-Synch Child Has Fun" This is the "Bible" for SPD. This contains a lengthy checklist you can go through to help pinpoint the area of SPD yourself. It also contains activities to do with your child according to his area of sensory issues. These activites will help him "satisfy" these different areas so that he feels settled and on an even keel.
I obviously don't know your son, but having problems getting to sleep can also be caused by ADHD. Their motor has difficulty turning off. Just something to consider. Think about purchasing one of those bean bags you pop in the microwave to heat up. Place it on his head or back depending how he likes to sleep. The warmth often calms my adhd son and well as very soft comfy blanket wrapped around him and then pillows leaning against him on all sides. :Lastly, I would suggest he sleep in another room for a couple of nights to see if he sleeps better and the dark circles disappear. If that happens you will know it is something in his room that makes him feel uncomfortable/uneasy. It could be something as simple as the texture of his sheets. My son has the SPD tactile dysfunction where he is very sensitive to the feel of certain fabrics (no tags in clothes, socks turned inside out so doesn't feel seam etc). His sheets have to be a soft flannel for him to sleep well.
Best of luck.

Helen - posted on 02/03/2010

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I know this is jumpin off topic but my child w/autism has ibs issues and I use Lactaid redu.fat. milk for cooking and cereal in am even my typical child uses it easy to digest 20% more calcium a &d vit. Sold inall stores autistic child so happy can eat cereals now and not be in potty for school :) hang in there all have a happy hump day ...

Beth - posted on 02/03/2010

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My son also has SPD and my daughter has a lot of sensory issues also. We used Melatonin - on the advice of the pediatrician. We also spend about an hour preparing for bedtime. We lower all the lights in the house and keep things quiet with books, games and quiet music - along with a heavy blanket on top of him - he's a sensory seeker. We also never have bath/shower time within an hour of bedtime. Probably things you have used already... hope this helps. Good luck in your endeavor for a peaceful night!

Nadine - posted on 02/02/2010

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I forgot to mention I don't know if this helps but I tried it to calm down my son for few months and it was great. Its called the Brushing technique ask your OT about it :-)

Karen - posted on 02/02/2010

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I have the same issue with my daughter. We tried everything! Black out curtains, sleep specialists, you name it. She's 4 now, getting better, but nothing worked on it's own. Everything worked in bits and pieces.
We have an ocean sounds machine, classical tunes, a strict bed time routine - no bath! (Totally works her up.) Pressure in the form of a 'bear hug' for 5 mins before bed helps. Lifting large books for her bed time story from the bedroom to the living room and back again. We make sure nothing exciting occurs in the hour before bed. Dad can't even play tickle games, that sort of thing.
Weighted blankets she hates, but a light warm one works. Iron in the form of raisins also helps, as increased iron reduces muscle issues and restless leg syndrome which can be a hidden factor.
And believe it or not - a very inexpensive trampoline from Walmart helped too! We use it before supper and an hour before bed. We are in a rainy area too, where it is hard to get outside in the winter. The excercise helps though.

Nadine - posted on 02/02/2010

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I haven't had any problem with sleep with my sons I guess because I followed a strict feeding/sleeping routine. The bedroom is pitch dark (from when they were babies) I have been giving my sons every evening a banana because I had read magnesium can really help relax a person/child. I think Melatonin is excellent worth continuing, and the yogurt idea might be true too! I have started to believe that supplementation really helps... Doctors told me that he doesn't have allergies to milk, gluten etc....but I realized when I reduce sugar, wheat, dairy etc...behavior and concentration gets better. And I would never stop Omega 3.....Good Luck!!!!

Alyn - posted on 02/02/2010

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Helen--we almost had him convinced that martial arts would be cool---tonight he just backed out. That would be sooo good for him. Strenghten his weak core and wear him out! We have a center here that is new and I am told has a rock climbing wall--should look into a membership. I think they have swimming there and he seems to love that. Will have to figure out how to do all of that with my 2 year old daughter tagging along!!! She would love it though...

Alyn - posted on 02/02/2010

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Robyn--I have just started somthing like that for him (he is now 6). Over the last 2 years I have tried different versions. He gets bored and I have to change it. So far this one is working.

Alyn - posted on 02/02/2010

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Helen--yep, have been doing Melatonion for a few weeks now. It does seem to work, but he has dark circles under his eyes--not sure he is getting the REM sleep he needs. Baths and the opposite affect on him--it winds him up. Outside activity is always good, but we are in Oregon--the Willamette Valley---lots of rain. It is hard to get outside this time of year.
Thanks

Helen - posted on 02/02/2010

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have you tried mellatonin? seems to work for my kids and i've even used it :) and if all else fails alot of outside activity i.e. red lite green lite and tag for hours, hee hee!!! good luck! xo ooooh yeah how about warm bubble bath not so much bubbles but Aveno stress bath soap the lavendar smell seems to help :)

Alyn - posted on 02/01/2010

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Megan---my son (now 6) stopped napping around 2 1/2---bedtime was usually 8 - 8:30 and he was up at 7 every morning. I use a sleep cd now from his OT. The weighted blanket worked really well early on. I had a horrible time gettng him to stay in his bed at 3 (he was so big (always 100% in height and weight), I had to turn his crib into the toddler bed--otherwise I would have kept him int it to contain him!) Good luck...

Megan - posted on 02/01/2010

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I understand completely. My three old doesn't nap and doesn't fall asleep till nine. I am still rocking her.

Elizabeth - posted on 02/01/2010

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My son did not start sleeping through the night until he was 6 years old. He also has a hard time falling asleep. Now I make sure that he has a routine. He has a sheet, blanket and a comforter on his bed to give him the feeling of weight and comfort. I also play lullaby music to help him calm down to go to sleep. He is now going to sleep faster and staying asleep all night. I hope this helps.

Alyn - posted on 02/01/2010

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I have tried the burshing and joint compressions before bed. It worked for a bit, but he won't tolerate it now. Wish I would have been more diligent 2 years ago when he was diagnosed with the brushing, but I had just had my baby girl (almost to the week of his diag.) and was adjusting to 2 children and healing from the c-section--couldn't keep up with it 6 times a day. Thanks for your response! It is really nice to know I am not alone in all of this...

Summer - posted on 01/31/2010

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I know what you are going through. My 15 month old has Defensive Sensory Processing Disorder. She also was diagnosed w/ "a" sleeping disorder (we are still trying find out what is causing it). We also tried Melatonin, it gave her nightmares (very common). What has helped a little is yogurt. Yogurt has L-tryptophan in it. My daughter has food aversions, so yogurt is a problem. I buy Kefir (also has tryptophan) and mix it w/ her milk. I've seen improvements. Have you tried brushing and joint compressions before bed?

Alyn - posted on 01/30/2010

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Thanks, I have tried all of that, it works for a bit, then stops working. Luckily he does and has always slept through the night, it is just getting to sleep. I have been giving him Melatonin for a few weeks and that works, but I am not sure he is getting the REM sleep he needs, still has circles under his eyes and some days his typical sensory seeking symptoms are aggrivated. We were suppose to meet with a specialist--sleep/behavioralist--the waiting list is months long (it has been 3 so far). Thanks for the ideas....

Heather - posted on 01/30/2010

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We also have a strict bedtime routine, and My son goes to bed with leg immobilizers (for tight hamstrings), is swaddled so his arms are pinned. Then he has a weighted blanket that I made! He really seems to need all that sensory feedback to get to sleep. He didn't sleep through the night till he was 3. Even them he would wake up and we had to bring him into bed. He's just learned to put himself back to sleep after waking in the middle of the night, and he's 6 now.

Jessica - posted on 01/30/2010

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I have a bedtime pattern for my son. We do it exactly the same way every night so it is something he can depend on (he does not do well with change). We start with a bath, his PM tube feed, then I give him a massage to help him settle down. Once I put him in his crib I put on some sleepytime music and cover him with his weighted blanket. It works well for him, but it took us a long time to find a routine that worked for him.

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