Leelo's Sleep Pattern: It's Normal -- for Him

The autism sleep researcher came by yesterday afternoon to let us know the results of the first leg of Leelo's study.

The good news: Our boy does get REM sleep, and he does sleep very deeply once he is asleep.

The bad news: He fits one of two typical autism sleep patterns, in that he just doesn't need as much sleep as his typical peers.

We are lucky, in that it could be worse. He could have been in the second typical autism sleep pattern group, in which the kids are active all night long. So, THANK YOU CHRISTIAN GOD WHO SMILES UPON US WITH SUCH BRILLIANCE.

The researcher does think we can address the two problem areas of Leelo's bedtime routine, which are:
  1. Taking up to an hour to go to bed and
  2. Waking up with sun
For the early waking, she suggested blackout drapes. Not sure that would work, as his sleep patterns were the same when he slept in a dungeon rather than a lightbox, but there's no harm in trying.

As for his nighttime bed routine, she suggested that we make minor modifications to the current routine. As of now it is:

  • Dinner
  • Quiet non-computer play, books, or video
  • Bath
  • Computer time while sisters get bathed
  • Bedtime books
  • To bed
  • (30 - 60 minutes of jack-in-the-boxing)
  • Asleep
She suggested that we apply a picture schedule to his bedtime routine, and swap the girls' bath time with Leelo's so that Leelo's computer time, which she says is extremely stimulating, can happen before his nice relaxing bath and quiet bedtime books. Makes sense.

We can pat ourselves on the back a little bit. She said we had a good nighttime routine in place, and a relatively consistent bedtime. Apparently she frequently deals with a bit more bedtime chaos.

And there was a coda of amusement: She arrived at 5 PM, after I had had one of the longest days ever of errands and Leelo hating being in the car and Iz reminding me that she'd switched her Aikido practice to Wednesdays plus Therapist R's being sick and not there for her usual 4 - 5:30 shift. I was beyond burnt when the researcher appeared.

We talked through the every-two-minutes and from-three-directions interruptions fairly well, I think. But Leelo was not terribly interested in putting his clothes back on after a toilet trip, and I was not all that concerned about it, instead focusing on trying to help the researcher work through her task list. But apparently it concerned the researcher, as she took pains to let me know that my son's naked butt didn't bother her. Note to the world: If something truly doesn't cause you worry, then don't mention it unless your host does. I write this while smirking, not frowning.

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  1. Is autism related to older paternal age, older maternal grandfather's age at the mother's birth and/or mitochondrial disorders or family history of autoimmune or neurodevelopmental disorders in the families you know. I have found many research papers showing that older paternal age leads to non-familial schizophrenia and autism.

  2. Hysterical, Squid. "No REALLY; I'm so NOT bothered by Leelo's nakedness I feel compelled to mention it...repeatedly!"

    Good news, indeed! Hope the new sleepytime schema does the trick. :)


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