Natural sleep aids

Since sleep is an ongoing issue at my house, I recently wrote and published an article about natural sleeps aids. You can read it here.

Currently, we are using Melatonin with our son and it does seem to help.

K-Oz still has ups and downs with his sleeping. There are nights when he sleeps perfectly through the night, but there are plenty of nights where he is up and down – waking frequently.

Right now his OCD is acting up quite a bit, but that’s another post!


Speech Therapy

My son – now 11 and my youngest daughter – 7 – both have been through speech therapy (or as in the case of my daughter, still doing speech therapy).

Because we homeschool, we are able to access services at our local school. When K-Oz was going through testing for ADHD and IQ at the school, we had him evaluated for speech services.

He didn’t start talking more than a few words here and there until he was three – and then his speech was very hard to understand.

By the time he was six and seven, I knew that he wasn’t outgoing his speech problems. The evaluator agreed – he had trouble with his R sounds and his S sounds. He went through about two years of weekly speech therapy sessions at the school and now his speech is so much better.

When I listen to him, I can still hear a bit of a speech issue – but not enough to be a problem.

My daughter has not had as many speech issues, but she also has had trouble with her R sounds and S sounds – which is why I had her evaluated and she is currently taking weekly speech therapy sessions.

Whether K-Oz’s speech difficulties had anything to do with his other special needs – I have no idea. I took speech therapy as a child and my brother and father both stutter (which some experts believe is in the same family with Tourette’s).

Our experiences with speec therapy have been good and I expect my daughter to have another full school-year of therapy. We’ll see!


Thoughts on Transitions

Special needs parents know exactly what I mean when i say “transitions.”

My son has trouble dealing with transitions (as many of your children probably do) and I have to work to keep them smooth.

Here’s an article I wrote on another website about transitions – and specifically tips for helping children deal with transitions.

In our house, transitions from one activity to another, transitions to bedtime and the like can cause lots of frustration.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on dealing with transitions – so please share!


Sleep ups and downs

The nights have been better lately – woohoo!

K-Oz is sleeping better, as we’ve been trying out some new sleep strategies (I will be writing about and sharing those later!).

I feel like each night of decent sleep is a small victory.

Those nights when he is up and down and only my two daughters get peaceful sleep, are spacing out a bit more. I’m keeping a close eye on his diet, the weather, stimulations such as TV and video games, etc. to try to figure out a pattern. The doctor suggested keeping a sleep journal detailing his sleeping habits, eating habits and all of those factors.

I’m trying!


Staying sane as a parent

I’ll admit it, there are some days when I don’t want to get out of bed.

Some days I just need to sigh and remind myself that “this too, shall pass.”

I’ve talked with other parents who have kids with special needs and I think we all agree: There are days when you just want to hide yourself away.

So what do I do when I have one of those “hit the wall” days?

I try to reach out to other parents who can understand what I’m dealing with.

I try to remind myself that I’m not running a short sprint, I’m in a long-term marathon – and I will get tired along the way.

I try to focus on the positives: The good days, the small victories, the simple joy I receive from my children.

I take a few minutes for myself. It could be a hot bath (ohhh, my luxury!), or an hour or two away for myself (if a family member is available to watch the kids) or simply loading up the kids for a visit to the park, an ice cream run or just a chance to get out of the house.

I have also found that keeping a journal is a great help. I write down the things I want to be reminded of on my dark days – the joyous times, the breakthroughs, the funny things that happen.

So, if you’re having one of those bad days: Take a deep breath, hug your sweet child(ren), and remember that you aren’t alone.


I think I spoke too soon. . .

K-Oz’s sleep problems were better for a couple of days, but now they’re back.

The new neurologist has referred us to have a sleep study done on him. She suspects possible sleep apnea. She also suggested taking away his radio and reading lamp and not allowing him to read in bed.

Now, I understand her point: Those are things that distract and keep him from a good night’s sleep. BUT with his OCD and possible autism-spectrum issues, I am not comfortable taking those things away.  They are part of his routine and he was very upset when heard the doc stating her recommendations.

The last time he was without the light and the radio, it ended badly (he acted out his dream and took a dive out of his bunk – head first). So, I’m not ready to take those things away.

He seems to wake up often and insist he can’t get back to sleep – sometimes he comes into our bedroom and his eyes are open, but he’s obviously not really awake.

So, I’m hoping we’ll get these sleep issues worked out soon.


A new doctor

We loaded the whole family up and headed to St. Louis, MO early Monday morning to visit with a new doctor.

Our family physician had referred us to a pediatric neurologist at Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis for K-Oz.

Hubby and I were both a bit apprehensive, wondering if we’d like this new doc.  So, we were a bit nervous when we got there.

Turns out, we really liked her. She spent time actually talking to us and answering questions.

We talked in depth about K-Oz’s Tourette’s, his OCD and his ADHD. We also discussed his sleep problems and what could be going on with that issue.

The doctor was concerned about the severity of his OCD episodes and we discussed it at length. We decided that at this point, it is manageable and we didn’t feel he needed medication to control it, but if it gets worse we might need to consider medication.

We also talked about his Tourette’s and the fact that he probably won’t outgrow it, but the tics aren’t interfering with his life.

All-in-all, we came away happy and pleasantly surprised. We now have a neurologist again! Yippee!


Microcephaly

I’ve been talking with one of my best friends and she recently got a diagnosis on her two-year-old son: Microcephaly.

He’s had problems since he was born: Hypospadias, developmental issues, small head circumference, etc.

While she was pregnant with him, her middle son was diagnoses with Type I Diabetes. So she’s had challenges all around. Prior to that, the middle son had a great deal of sensory integration issues and was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, so she’s had her hands full.

Now this. Microcephaly has a whole different set of challenges. So I’m reading up on it and educating myself more about Microcephaly. I plan to share what I find here on this blog and I’d love to hear from parents who are dealing with this.


Improved sleeping

K-Oz’s tooth came out Thursday night and he slept great all night long.

Last night was a different story. He had more sleep problems – again.

I noticed that yesterday he was especially out-of-sorts. He was overly emotional and over reactive to things. He was on the verge of tears a couple of times.

So, now I’m wondering if it’s weather. Thursday was almost 70 degrees, then turned really windy and stormy. Friday the temperature dropped and dropped and dropped. Now on Saturday there are snow flurries. Weather seems to affect him – his moods and behaviors.

I let him sleep late today in the hopes that he’d catch up on sleep and be more rested. We’ll see what’s happening.

Monday we have our appointment with the new doctor in St. Louis. I’m excited, hopeful, apprehensive – a jumble of emotions about it. Not dreading it, but just ready to see what the doctor says.


A reason for sleep disturbances?

Last night was the fourth night in a row that K-Oz had trouble sleeping.

He didn’t have nightmares last night, but he didn’t wake up quite a bit and talked and walked in his sleep.

I may have discovered a reason for his sleeping problems over the last few days. Last night before he went to bed he showed me a tooth that was very loose and about to come out. He said he could feel the new tooth trying to come in.

A light suddenly went on in my head! When K-Oz was a baby, every time he would get a new tooth he’d have sleep problems. I could always tell when a new tooth was coming because he would be up and down all night one night, then the next morning the new tooth would be there.

So, now I’m going to watch. I think this tooth should come out pretty soon and the new one on its way – so I’m going to keep watch to see if there’s a correlation between the tooth and the sleep problems!


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