Saturday, November 2, 2013

Autism Answer: But What If You're Just So Tired?!

It is extremely common for autistic kids and adults to have difficulty sleeping. Melatonin (a supplement that helps us calm & sleep) is often part of bed-time ritual for homes of autism. But, still, very very often there is not nearly enough sleep, all around. And sometimes you are just so tired!! All the useful tips, actionable answers and caffeine in the world can't get you going!! What then??

There are lots of answers. Ask for a hand from your usual helpers, hole up in your room locking all the doors and pass out for an hour, regardless of to-do lists and your loved ones schedule or therapies. When my brothers were first adopted, my mom slept maybe one hour a day, and she only got that much sleep by laying on the floor in my brothers' bedroom, in-front of the door so that they couldn't escape, while allowing them to take apart the room. Including disassembling the odd bed! Getting sleep is often challenging, but do your best to find a way. In the meantime...

I would also like to add an important, less actionable but possibly wonderfully useful, suggestion! 

Pay attention to how overwhelming simple tasks seem. Notice how easily offended you are, how vulnerable to snapping and cranky responses. How easily confused and forgetful. You're not broken, stupid or unable... you are tired! 

Take advantage of this reminder to understand your loved one with autism for a second. He/She is not tired, they are autistic, (and possibly tired!) but the similarities ARE there. With a brain that is firing differently from those around them, they are easily overwhelmed and unable to perform or understand tasks that seem simple to you. And like when you're sleepy, you still often ask yourself to do it. But-- ideally!-- with understanding and patience.

So try to get some sleep, try to find a way, but when you don't... pay attention and take advantage of the possible connections!! 

Hugs, Smiles and Love!