Andrew, 11, has a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and had never been a good sleeper. Andrew was staying up late into the night and then falling asleep during the day.
We were exhausted and so was Andrew. As a couple we never had any ‘us’ time, each evening was spent trying to persuade Andrew to go to bed. We were working against each other instead of in partnership and the whole situation become unmanageable.
We needed to tackle the sleep problem and put some routine in place that Andrew would respond positively to.We found Millpond’s website one night while desperately trying to find something that would work for Andrew. We were reassured to see that they have specialist members of staff who work with families of children with additional needs. We had felt that the sleep problem was all part of the Autism diagnosis, now we know that there are things that can be put in place to help and we are so grateful for the support of the Millpond team.We were worried that because Andrew has Autism Millpond wouldn’t be able to work with us so we were delighted to hear that this wasn’t an issue.
We had a lengthy discussion with the sleep therapist who asked lots of questions to gain a full understanding of how Andrew functions. We found this really important as Andrew has some particular routines and interests that need to be considered before a programme can be implemented.
We kept a sleep diary for a week and completed a questionnaire. Our Millpond sleep therapist was then able to suggest a new bedtime routine schedule for Andrew. A visual timetable was used which he loved as he felt that he still had some control over his bedtime. Pre-bedtime activities changed and although Andrew did not like this at first we were able to offer him alternative activities that interested him so he quickly complied. They key activity to change was falling asleep with the television on.
Sensory cues were added into the bedtime routine for Andrew as his awareness of time is limited. Adding these cues has helped him to understand that bedtime is approaching and to be better prepared to end activities. Progress was excellent and within 2 weeks Andrew was enjoying his new bedtime routine and evenings were transformed from chaos to calm.
Thanks Millpond, you have helped us so much, we just wish we’d known about your service years ago.