It’s often said that children with sensory processing disorder (SPD) have difficulty with boundaries. They may seek input and, not knowing exactly where their bodies are in space, not be aware of that “personal bubble” that most people respect. They also struggle with sleep issues. Sleep problems combined with boundary issues make for a lot of long nights!
I can count on one hand how many times C has slept through the night since he was born. In fact, it might only be one time. When he was an infant, we spent countless nights rocking him in a recliner throughout the night. As soon as we would put him down, he would wake. He needed to be held.
He has always needed me next to him in order to fall asleep. Trying to put him down awake resulted in crying that never stopped, only got louder until we were afraid he would make himself vomit. Sleep training was a joke. Nothing worked.
In the middle of the night, he would wake many times and cry until I came in to sleep next to him. He did this from ages 1.5-3. Just in the past few months he has started to come to our bed in the middle of the night. He asks to come up, I lift him up and he lies next to us and falls back to sleep. He tosses and turns throughout the night, often pressing his body up against one of us. I’ve fallen out of bed a few times because he’s pushed against me so hard.
Sometimes he won’t sleep unless his face is pressed tightly against mine. Patience is something I struggle with, especially as chronic sleep deprivation takes its toll. I know that he can’t help it. He needs to be pressed against me for his body to feel comforted, organized, or for him to recognize where he is. It makes for many long, sleepless nights.
Does your SPD child have sleep problems? Difficulties with boundaries? Have you found something that helps them?