Autism Parenting and Tough Times.

This is a tough post to write, recently I had a reader ask about autism and medication and it looks like soon we will be travelling the same route. Annie and I had much fun on Friday tripping around the city to visit the compounding chemist who will be preparing Melatonin for my girls – after consultation with our paediatrician. Actually I think just walking around Docklands on a sunny winters afternoon was pretty therapeutic for both of us.

Neither of the girls are sleeping much and Heidi has been unsettled and increasingly aggressive recently, whilst Annie’s anxiety has been spiralling out of control. There are peaks and troughs in all parenting, right now we are hitting what I hope is the bottom of this trough. I’ve got my fingers crossed that much of their anxiety issues are related to lack of sleep and sleep deprivation.

We’ve been working with Annie to reduce her anxiety for a year now, in concert with her counselor, speech therapists and occupational therapist and using Tony Attwood’s Exploring Feelings – Anxiety book. Deciding to part time homeschool really made a change and Annie’s anxiety decreased significantly. However Annie asked to return to school full time this year and her anxiety has steadily increased to the point where the wall of anxiety is blocking us out and caging Annie in.

Most worryingly Annie has started biting herself again in an effort to release her anxiety, despite us having worked for most of last year on positive strategies and alternatives when anxious. She’s only 8 years old for God’s sake, biting now, what next, what about the horrible teenage years when the hormones cause havoc? Yeah, it kind of terrifies me. If the melatonin does not help to improve her sleep and thus reduce her anxiety we are going to have to look at anxiety medication options, something mild that will give the other therapies we are doing a chance to sink in past the anxiety wall and stick.

So fingers crossed the Melatonin helps both girls because right now with both of them flying off into anxiety induced stress attacks and meltdowns, its not so much fun and I can only image how much harder it is to be inside their heads where they can’t just escape the problem for a few minutes… even sleep is not an escape as neither seems to be able to sleep through their worries.

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Marita Beard
Life, the Universe and Autism
Marita Beard


Life, the Universe and Autism

0 thoughts on “Autism Parenting and Tough Times.

  • I’ve had great success with my 6 yo daughter also. I have to use liquid now, as she won’t take any type of pill or tablet but it works like a charm. Having a well rested child makes such a difference.

  • Melatonin has really helped my 3 year old sleep.  He used to run around his room for at least an hour before going to sleep, and he would wake up several times in the night. Now, after consulting with his neurologist, he takes 1 mg of melatonin (Trader Joe’s peppermint chewables) 1/2 hour before bedtime.  We spend the 30 minutes after he takes it reading stories, and then he goes right to sleep and doesn’t wake up until morning.  It is a miracle!  So many other things improved when he started sleeping again, especially his temper.  He hasn’t had a single really bad meltdown since he started taking it. 


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