Last week I ended my series “What Autism Looks Like in Our Home”. It included emotional reactivity (aka meltdowns), sensory issues, sleep problems, anxiety, and food aversions. This is not an exclusive list by any means but these are the Top 5 that stand out to me as we raise our son.
Today I’d like to share some of the tools I did not mention in this series, that we’ve used to help with these daily issues.
(This post contains affiliate links. All products we promote we have used or purchased for our own family’s needs. For more details, read our advertising disclosure.)
This has been a huge hit in our home. We originally bought this for our daughter with ADHD. It works wonders for her when she just can’t settle down and is super fidgety. It also works for our son when he’s bored or just needs to get some energy out.
Our son loves books. Before he could even read he would sit and look through books often. Over the last year we’ve found that he particularly enjoys activity books – mazes, puzzles, and seek and finds. Read More
Food aversion issues in our home have been the largest source of tension for our Little Man. In an earlier article I mentioned how oral sensory issues is the same as “our son does not eat” and this is fairly accurate. He eats a small, limited variety of foods, and most of them are not very good for you.
Food Aversion – AKA My Son Does Not Eat!
His food aversion began when he was a toddler. After being off formula he would eat all kinds of things – ham, turkey, meatloaf, hot dogs, spaghettios, cheese, apples, peanut butter. Typical toddler food. Around the age of 2 he began to literally refuse food by throwing his plate on the floor. We had a carpeted dining room so you can imagine how messy this was.
And how aggravating this was.
I did not understand this. It seemed like out of the blue he would refuse foods he had always eaten. During this time he did develop a sensitivity to peanut butter and dairy, until about the age of 3. He would break out in a terrible rash and have some major digestive issues.
I began to do research on food sensitivities and also read a few books about picky eaters. I tried some of the strategies they suggested but no matter what I did he would refuse the food anyway. Read More
We first noticed anxiety in our Little Man when he was a toddler. It started with never wanting to leave my side. I thought it was a normal phase. All toddlers go through a stage like that now and then. But this seemed different.
During his preschool years he did not like to be in loud places or places with a lot of people. The only way he would attend Kid’s Connection at our church is because my mother and my oldest daughter helped out in his class.
Signs of Anxiety in our Little Man
Our son always, always had to have someone with him at all times. This is the very reason we could not leave him alone when he was trying to fall asleep at night. For a while I thought these were just unfounded fears that had gotten out of control. As the years went on, they only became increasingly worse.
He seemed to do just fine during preschool and Kindergarten, but I think this is due to the regimented schedule and routine that school offered. As long as he knew what was going to happen, and it didn’t change, he was perfectly fine.
His anxiety also became apparent when his routine did change. For example, my husband always drove the same way to school each and every day. One day I had to drive him instead and I took a shortcut. He was worried the entire time that we were going to be late.
He also felt comfort and security in knowing the plan for each day. He would ask countless times during the day, “Where are we going today?” and I had better include each and every stop. If we veered off the original schedule he definitely noticed and would ask about it. Read More
As I sat down to write this article in our “What is Autism Like in Our Home” series, I noticed sleep problems was up next. I busted out laughing right at the table! My kids probably thought I was insane, but I have a habit of doing that a lot. Usually from something I read on Facebook or a text from my best friend.
This area has been one of the hardest for me to deal with. I need my sleep, and when I don’t get it it’s not pretty. Just ask my husband. 😉
So sleep issues . . . where do I start?
Our son was never, ever, ever a good sleeper. And by good sleeper I mean sleep through the night for at least for 6 hours in a row without waking up.
Well, I take that back. At around 4 months old, he started sleeping like 6 hours in a row for about one or two weeks. This was around the same time we switched from breast milk to formula. That was the end of his good sleeping streak. And he’s been keeping this pattern up ever since.
I can count on one hand, how many times he’s slept through the night. On these rare occasions, my husband and I wake up, notice he’s not in our bed, and go check on him to be sure he’s still breathing. I am NOT joking. He NEVER sleeps through the night in his own bed. EVER.
We’ve had lots of advice given to us by well-meaning people. And before he was ever diagnosed with ADHD or Autism, we thought we were not trying hard enough to make him sleep through the night or in his own bed for that matter. Read More