Autism Myths, Legends, and Mysteries of Sleep 15

This post is for Danette’s wonderful Best of Best Series.  Click on the badge below on July fifteenth to see other posts on this subject.  FYI: My daughter approved this post.

BestofBestThe myth is that if your child cannot fall asleep it is due to either anxious parenting or lack of firm parenting.  The legend is that those on the autism spectrum can totally avoid sleep problems if they avoid sensory overload and they are in a calm environment.  The mystery is why those on the autism spectrum have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

Too many parents of children on the spectrum experience judgement for their child’s sleep problems and are given poor advice as a result.  I am one of them.  I can tell you now that if you talk to my fifteen year old that she will collaborate that the environment was quiet prior to her bedtime, and I was calm as we read her bedtime stories, told her stuffed animals good night and said her prayers during her toddler years.  Her bedtime was the same every night too.  Still she rarely slept more than six hours and she frequently had trouble going to sleep and went through periods of waking up several times a night.  She completely gave up her daytime naps unless she was ill by the time she was three.

Parents are also told that if they remove bright colors and all electronics from the bedroom and keep the house quiet their child will be able to sleep just fine.  Some recommend adding deep massage and/ or aroma therapy.  My teenager will tell you this does not work for her.  There are many times that she has no idea what keeps her awake.  Her mind just has trouble shutting down when it is bedtime.  She does eventually fall asleep.  She does get enough sleep to function either by taking naps or by sleeping longer some days.

No one knows for sure what causes those on the autism spectrum to have problems with sleep yet it remains an issue into adulthood for many.  Baylor College of Medicine believes it possibly is due to alterations in the production of melatonin.  You can read about their study by clicking on this link: Treatment of Sleep Problems in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder With Melatonin – Full Text View – ClinicalTrials.gov.

I believe we need to quit believing there is a one size fits all range of needed sleep or even for the time of day people sleep.  Maybe some children and some adults do not need as much sleep as others.  Maybe some people are born night owls and need to sleep later in the day.  Mayo clinic seems to think this is true for teenagers anyway.  Click on this link to read more: Teen sleep: Why is your teen so tired? – MayoClinic.com.

Let me know what you think!

The Importance of Bystanders 11

Thankfully, I had parents who taught me to help people in trouble and yet, until my thirties I did not always do this.  I have never left anyone wounded or bleeding, but there have been times when I have not stopped if I saw others were already at the scene.  I mentioned in a previous blog that I also regret not speaking up to help a friend when someone bullied her on the school bus when I was in high school.  It took me a while to really grow up, so I do get how hard it is for bystanders to step-up and help those in need, although I think it is time we worked to change the apathy within ourselves and others.

What I do not get is why in a time when bully prevention programs encourage bystanders to help, a mail carrier has to fight to try to get her job back after helping a young man who was in danger of being mauled by two pit bulls.  That is just wrong!  See this story:  Mail Carrier Tries to Get Job Back After Helping Boy | NBC Philadelphia.

What I do get and love is bystanders who do help and bloggers who post their stories and helpful information.  Read this post:  Tips for the Bully Bystander « Bullying Stories.

Warning the next link is disturbing, so I understand if you choose to skip it. 

This link includes two examples of how callous people are capable of being:  The Bystander Effect: Alive and Well, Page 2 of 2 – Associated Content from Yahoo! – associatedcontent.com.

The last two links are information from a teacher’s site about the Holocaust.  I am posting them because I really fear for our nation when bystanders do not speak-up and when I see a tolerance of meanness while kindness and acceptance of differences are seemingly MIA in some of our school age children.

A Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust-Victims.

A Teachers Guide to the Holocaust-Bystanders.

Do you speak-up when you see someone being mistreated?  Do you encourage your children to speak-up too?

Bullying in the Aloha State

Lanai from hotel roomWhen my children were younger we read a story book about the Aloha Bear which taught that aloha means hello, goodbye, and love. People also use it to mean peace, compassion, and mercy. Yet, even in Hawaii, we have a bullying problem that isn’t going away. Those who have been reading my blog know this affected my family directly a few years ago.

Hawaii is one of the few states without legislation specifically aimed at bullying, yet the problem is no longer being ignored. The harassment law was amended last year to allow for prosecution of technology related bullying. State leaders are working on ways to curb the bullying. The news media has also been giving it more attention this year. See the following for more information: Cyber bullying affects 1 in 2 Hawaii teens – Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL Home

It is time to educate the parents as to their responsibility. For more information about this see my accountability post: Accountability for Protecting Our Children | dswalkerauthor.

A parent’s primary job is to teach their child right from wrong and to protect them from harm. Protect your child no matter what anyone at the school or anywhere else tells you. Protect them by legal means please! Work with me to change the system.

Unfortunately, you will probably also have to help your child learn to forgive so they can completely heal. Becoming the bully is not an option. Becoming an advocate is. It is truly time to change the school climate to one of tolerance and acceptance of differences. I hope some of you will be brave enough to publicly agree with me by commenting here.

Addendum: Hawaii’s anti-bullying law became effective in 2011. However, it excludes over 150 private schools. You can find more posts about bullying by clicking on more supportive schools from the menu or entering bullying in the search area.