Friday, December 3, 2010

The Aspie vs. The Insomniac

I am an insomniac. I have been since I was a teenager. And one of the things about insomniacs is that we love our sleep. LOVE IT. We covet it and are highly protective of it. Like jewels or money, we will go to great lengths to preserve it when we can get it.

My son, Niko (pictured left), has Apergers syndrome. One of the symptoms of Aspergers is something called Hyperfocus. Once an idea/goal/task gets into their head, that is the ONLY THING THEY CAN THING THINK ABOUT. To the negligence of all other rules/regulations/tasks/social norms/etcetera ad nauseum.

Last night was a painful new experience in my life as the mom of an Aspie. At some point south of midnight (probably around 2AM or so...give or take), the bathroom light came on, stayed on for a few minutes, and went off again. THEN, Niko came into my room asking for a hug. A O'Dark Thirty!

No, Niko go back to bed.

Resume sleep pattern.

Around 3:30 AM, Niko comes BACK into my room. "I hurt my ear."


ATTEMPT to resume sleep pattern....FAIL. SHITE.

For about an hour I laid in bed, trying desperately to get back to sleep before my alarm went off. Insomnia was not having it. A successful sleep cycle had been disturbed too many times and, as they say, that was all she wrote. I was willing and able to lay in that bed and TRY to regain sleep even if it was only a few minutes, though. Granted, I didn't so much LAY as I tossed and turned.

It was an hour in that I heard a small sound coming from the bathroom. A whimper like sound. -SIGH- Out of bed, I opened the door and sure enough there sat Niko. In the dark. Against the tub. "Can I have a hug?"

What the...?!?! No, Niko. Go BACK to BED!

And that was it for me sleeping the rest of the night. But that was NOT the end of the Aspie drama for the night. Not by a long shot.

He had worked himself up to the point that he sat in his bed having an Aspie episode and managed to make himself physically sick. It being allergy and sinus can imagine what that looked like. After cleaning THAT up and still hoping that he would get SOME sleep, we sent him back to bed.

He did it AGAIN. And had managed to wake up his younger brother by this time as well. Alright, twice is slightly more questionable. So, to be on the safe side, we took his temperature and it was a healthy 98.4 degrees. When asked if they would like some cereal, "Yes, that would make me feel better". HUGE GRIN


We are new to this realm of having an Aspergers kid. We have seen the hyperfocus before from Niko in various situation and severity, as have his teachers. This time it had the ill timing to manifest in the middle of the night. He got it into his head that he HAD to have a hug and his poor little brain could not let the notion go. Even to the detriment of his well being (sleep being important to wee ones functionality). I can only imagine how the rest of his day will go.

A quick meeting with his teacher once we drop him off is in order. Must make sure that she knows that is going on with him so SHE can best handle anything that arises while he is with her. Hopefully, he will get a good nap during rest period and maybe....MAYBE the rest of his day will go a little more smoothly.

Aspergers kids are each of them unique in how the disorder manifests. WebMD offers some really great information on the disorder. If you know someone with Aspergers or a child with Aspergers, it never hurts to educate yourself and others on it. They are often misread before diagnosis as "problem children" or "developmentally delayed". But in reality, they are just like computers. They are Macs in a PC world. They have the same capabilities, but the software isn't always compatible.

Now, I must get my little Mac ready for school. Wish us luck. Today is going to be a bumpy ride.

UPDATE: Just like any adult that stays up all night, his stomach has continued to betray its unhappiness. No fever or any of the other symptoms of illness. Just the sour (and in this young unaccustomed case, VOLATILE) stomach that plagues us all when we stay up too long with no food and an emotional overload. Niko will be staying home today and hopefully, we won't have a repeat of this kind of thing. Preferably EVER, but I will take FOR A WHILE as a substitute. BUT he is now SLEEPING. I will take that shiny silver lining and cherish it.


  1. It might be bumpy, but you will get through it. I am looking so forward to getting to see all four of you in January.

  2. I have a question. My first instinct would be "oh for god's get back to bed". Is this something that, with hyperfocus, wouldn't matter much? For example - would said Apsie a) be appeased with a hug and drop the matter? or b) not be appeased at all and just continue wanting hugs over and over and over and over? This is a very interesting condition.

    Hope y'all get some rest today!! ::hugs::

  3. Amy: Thanks for taking an interest! The hyperfocus usually involves television, or a toy he's trying to figure out. Or, in a more severe instance, the day that he wandered out of his class looking for something that he had been missing. Just walked out without a word to his teacher. It was SCARY.

    The "I want a hug" thing is something that he does through out the day as an excuse to see what is on our television or what I am working on or a ploy to get a drink.

    Last night was our first encounter with a hyperfocus episode in the middle of the night. We didn't have any idea that was what it was until after the second time he came into the room talking about his ear. So, we had no frame of reference to work with. Now that we HAVE experienced it, we will know to try dealing with it differently.

    He was only diagnosed a few months ago. Experiences are all new for dealing with things that we once considered simple childish fits or misbehaving. It is an ongoing learning experience.

  4. It's hard and frustrating at times, but the whole family gets through it. My brother was diagnosed with Aspergers when he was 3, he is now 18. I had the distinct pleasure of his hyperfocus episodes mostly involving wanting things and information from me.

  5. Loved reeading this thank you