Almost always wakes crying — The Bump
Special Needs

Almost always wakes crying

I have a question that has been bothering me a long time.  DS just turned three and has Mixed-Receptive/Expressive language delay and lots of sensory issues.  He wakes up (on his own) almost every time he sleeps--screaming and crying--similar to the way a very young toddler might cry (same sound pattern and flailing his arms and legs ---if that makes sense).  He also looks out of it and does not respond to us talking to him.  This could last a minute or five, just depends on the day.

Its not really hurting anyone, but it baffles me that its still happening.  I guess it could be a sensory thing or that he has sleep issues.  Since its hard to communicate with him--we can't ask him.  He is VERY hard to get to bed at night.  He usually falls asleep around midnight regardless of what we do during the day or when he woke up.  We bed share (please don't judge as this has been the only way to get sleep in this house) and that gives him no reason to really be scared or anything.  I just had a baby four months ago and somehow she sleeps through the craziness!  I am not sure how long this will last though:)

Anyone else have something similar?  I am thinking about bringing it up to his OT and ST this week.  Thanks!


Re: Almost always wakes crying

  • I don't have any advice, but my DD (27 months) wakes up every single night crying at 3:00am.  This has been going on for about a month or 2.  She has always been a terrible sleeper and goes to bed late (around 10pm).  You mentioned that he moves his arms and legs, doesn't respond to you for a few minutes and seems out of it... have you thought about maybe getting this all on video and showing your pedi? 
  • This sounds similar to my son. He has an expressive delay, hypersensitive to some things and is almost 3. When he wakes up from his nap or a nights sleep he is almost always crying. It takes him awhile to calm down sometimes. While he might not always respond, I know he knows we are there. He's always been a high needs kid/baby so I never really thought much of it.
    He also recently developed issues going to sleep at night and will sometimes take an hour or more to fall asleep for the night, as well as being scared of the dark.
    I don't have much advice just wanted to let you know you're not alone. If it seems like your LO doesn't acknowledge your presence maybe it could be night terrors?
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  • edited July 2013
    I could have written this.  DS is 2 1/2 years old, Dx ASD, always hated sleep, wakes up screaming, barely naps, and we bed share.  I also get the side eye when I admit we bed share, but like you it is the only way I get some amount of sleep.
    I have found a few things that make waking up a little easier.  He likes it when he wakes up and I'm still next to him.  If I get up to start getting ready for work and he wakes up without me, it is worse.  I get everything ready the night before so I can lay in bed with him longer in the morning.  Not rushing him out of bed helps.  I also give him milk soon after waking because it comforts him.  And I put on his favorite movie, Cars, every morning to distract him while I get ready.
    Basically find what comforts him and redirect his attention.  My house can go from calm to crisis in seconds, I do what I can to keep things smooth.  His ABA therapists are helping and he is improving all around.  I don't foresee this continuing forever.
    Good luck to you and do what you feel is best for your family.

    Edit: He is also non-verbal, so like you, I can't ask him what is wrong.
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  • My daughter had similar symptoms with sleep and also is mixed expressive/receptive language delays along with sensory issues. It was seizures and seizure meds have not only helped her language but she began sttn.
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  • Yep. This my daughter. 2.5 years old, bed sharer, wakes every night...usually for an hour or two, starts off crying, usually ends up laughing and saying "chocolate chip cookie" or "oval"... Or whatever the word of the day is she finds hysterical. We are awaiting our ASD diagnosis, she has speech delays and sensory issues. Pt and ot did nothing for her, we were basically told "this is who she is and how she operates". She stopped napping around 18 months and still never sleeps through the night. It's gotten a bit better but not because of anything specific we've done. No suggestions, just know you aren't alone.
  • Thanks ladies!  It always helps to hear that others have/are dealing with it.  We just got his eyes tested yesterday (need to repeat on Monday since he wasn't completely down with all the tests) and found out his eyes may be pretty bad.  They don't want to guess right now. 

    I am thinking that he may be getting headaches from his eyes straining. He is going through a frequent tantrum phase too and doing things on purpose to get timeouts.  I know this may be the stress of having a new sister (4 months) and that is how it comes out.  I think stress has a lot to do with it.  Like I said in my post, he has done this forever, but its that he is three now--thought he would be outgrowing it and its popping up more extreme lately.  I appreciate all the suggestions. Thanks!

  • BTW Brandi... Isla's new siggy pic is very cute!

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