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Any advice for a young, single mom with a newly diagnosed child?

Posted by on Apr. 26, 2014 at 5:29 PM
  • 14 Replies

My son is 8 years old, newly diagnosed, and here are our main issues:

  • Persistent nightmares; insomnia:  He doesn't sleep well, and he has nightmares almost every night.  This has been ongoing since about 2-3 years old.  He has trouble falling and staying asleep, even on nights without nightmares.
  • Excitable; hyperactive: Any high-energy environments (like school buses) overstimulate him, and he "acts out."
  • Chronic lying: He lies constantly.
  • Discipline doesn't work: No form of discipline has been successful, and I'm feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.
  • Poor social skills (with children): Incessant talking; doesn't know when to stop; dominates conversations; little understanding of personal boundaries and social cues; has difficulty making and keeping friends.
  • Severe attachment issues: He still wants to sleep in my bed, and if he had it his way he would never leave my side. 
  • Extremely picky eater.  He takes Vyvanse for ADHD, and that has further increased his pickiness.  I manage to keep him from being underweight, but I struggle so much.
  • Won't obey anyone but me (and even I have a lot of trouble).  He doesn't seem to understand.  He thinks discipline and being mean are the same thing.

I am just feeling very overwhelmed and frustrated lately.  I have no rest, no breaks, and I am so tired...  I'm unsure of what to do when I feel frustrated and overwhelmed.  I just want to help my son anyway that I can, but no one seems to have any answers or help for me.

by on Apr. 26, 2014 at 5:29 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by Darby on Apr. 27, 2014 at 8:07 AM
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Welcome to the group mama!  Have you tried Melatonin to help him sleep at night?  What about therapy?  Is he in OT or ABA therapy?

by Member on Apr. 27, 2014 at 10:15 AM
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I am sorry to hear your struggles! Our 20 month old was diagnosed in March. He was never a good sleeper. Our psychologist recommended melatonin and it has helped tremendously! We use the liquid kind but there are pills and melt away tablets. I'd give it a try. Good luck
by Silver Member on Apr. 27, 2014 at 10:36 AM
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Welcome!  Now that you have a diagnosis, you need to find out what help is available - both through the school and medical therapies.  Ther is help available, it may take some time and work to find it so we are here to help.  Who diagnosed your son?

by Platinum Member on Apr. 27, 2014 at 11:17 AM
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I would talk to his doctor about using melatonin for sleep. It's non addicting and all natural. I would also suggest chamomile tea before bed.

What does his doctor says about the nightmare. I would think they would be concerned about the sleeping with constant nightmares. Does your son have a therapist that he can talk to about them.

by Platinum Member on Apr. 27, 2014 at 11:20 AM
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Sent last response without finishing sorry. The reason I was concerned about the sleeping was it can cause the behavioral issues. The lack of good sleep is hard on anyone. I have issues with it personally. If I do not get good sleep then I tend to be moody and react to things differently. I get upset easier and get irritated with people easier. I would work on his sleep issues and see if that helps
by Platinum Member on Apr. 27, 2014 at 12:23 PM
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HUG! Our kids are tough.
Id check out Dr. Greenes "The Explosive Child" book (short easy funny read) for ideas on discipline and working with him to figure out how to get him to understand your concerns and rules/regualtions. :)
I also like "no More MeltoDowns" by jed Baker.. but NOT as much as Dr. Greene-- but another funny, easy read) both of them feel like " Oh, THIS is the parenting manual Ive been looking for!!" They should give this to you at the time of the Dx! LOL..
Id also see about the melatonin and maybe have a chat with an OT about a sensory diet to help his body relax.. weighted blanket, deep pressure, etc.
For Social support Michele Garcia Winners has some great books for kids to read to him about how to "look, and listen" and be a "social detetcive"... she also has some great ideas for us as parents how to help our children to work better with others.

by Arlea on Apr. 27, 2014 at 2:54 PM

 Welcome to the group, my son still suffers from night terrors as well though my husband started to comfort him and put him back in his own bed and the terrors seem to be lessening and his meltdown afterwards is shorter (I used to let him sleep with us but it was becoming everyday and my hubby wasn't having that). I was reluctant to send him off at first but it seems to be working.

As for the incessant talking, my son's twin does that as well, he is not on the spectrum though he has some traits. He is also very smart and will talk your ear off about numbers, time, what he doesn't like to eat, likes to eat etc. At school, his teachers will make him "save his words" until others are done talking. At home, I will make him wait to talk at certain times though I am not always successful. He is learning not to talk when I am on the phone or if I am instructing another child but the rest of the time he talks my ear off ;) .

My boys are almost 5 so some if this might be a little harder to implement for your son (being older) but I really think the rules about when it's not okay to talk have helped him understand social etiquette and helped me not go crazy a lot. 

I also agree that you should read up on autism. I would read a variety of different viewpoints to give you a well rounded game plan. It's a different world you have to acclimate yourself to. It takes a moment, don't beat yourself up, especially having to do it by yourself.  

I really liked "Thinking in pictures" by Temple Grandin and "Not even wrong" by Paul Collins, also " Born on a blue day" by Daniel Tammet. These were not books by specialists but they helped me to understand the autistic world. The specialists book help a lot to but these gave me more perspective. Good luck, and there's lot of us here for support if you need us :)

by Bronze Member on Apr. 27, 2014 at 3:34 PM

First thing, look for respite care. We are currently on a wait list to get hours for my son. It is free care for your child while you go out and have time for yourself. You don't pay for it. Where I live, it is done by county. They get money from the state to fund it, so how many hours we will get will depend on the money they get from the state. Google respite care in the city or county you live in and see what comes up. Second thing, look for some behavioral interventionists or therapists. It doesn't have to be ABA therapy, but someone who knows how to help you cope with some of these behaviors and how to get your son to learn what is and is not appropriate behavior. For the eating, I wouldn't worry too much if he is healthy. We had to have a feeding therapist for my son because he only ate pureed food. He finally started eating solid food at the age of 5! But if it is really bothering you, you can look into getting a feeding therapist. They can help with some of the sensory problems that comes with eating. But really, you need to look into respite care! Look now because all of us need a break from time to time! Especially single moms. I'm married and I still feel like I'm losing my mind, so I really feel for you!

by Gold Member on Apr. 27, 2014 at 4:00 PM

 For relief, contact your county respite department.  The caretakers are trained to care for those with Autism.  They can take care of them at your home or at a facility with other children with disabilities of the same age.  They can even teach you how to care for your children if needed.

Quoting Gloria1025:

Welcome!  Now that you have a diagnosis, you need to find out what help is available - both through the school and medical therapies.  Ther is help available, it may take some time and work to find it so we are here to help.  Who diagnosed your son?


by Kari on Apr. 27, 2014 at 6:58 PM

Hi girl, you could be telling my story. My son was diagnosed late (8), I am a single mom, my son's behaviors are very much like your son. I can say one thing that might help...he is now 10 and things have gotten better as he has matured. 

Melatonin (over the counter suppliment) works wonderfully for sleep. I give it to him about 2-3 hours before bed. 

I just went to a conference and I learned a lot about the behaviors you are talking about. I learned a lot of things I can change that will help him change. Friend me and I will send you a reading list and more information. Everyone swears by the book "The Explosive Child" so I am going to go out and get it myself...

As for being a single mom, it sure isn't for the weak of heart. You are young and beautiful and deserve to have a life but it is sooo hard when your child uses up all your energy. It is exhausting. I hear you and I know how you are feeling and I struggle with the same issues although I am older than you. I think you have to reach out and find as many resources as you can to help you with your son and make some time somewhere in your crazy schedule that is for you. If you don't take care of yourself you will burn out. I am proof, I am recovering from major burn out right now. I am trying to eat better, do my yoga, I am going to therapy...trying to see a friend once in a while. This is a great place for support, the women here are really kind. Friends who understand are so valuable. Welcome and keep posting!!!  xo

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