This is an article from Unfold newsletter.
You know how awful it feels when you haven’t slept well? Many families of disabled children are all too familiar with that exhausted, flustered feeling – because 80 percent of them are affected by sleep problems. Here a mum, Sarah, describes how you helped end the nightmare of sleep deprivation for her family.
Lack of sleep nearly sent us over the edge
Ever since she was born, my five-year-old daughter Florence had hardly slept a wink. She has autism and a sensory processing disorder, you see, so she’s sensitive to sights and sounds. And at bedtime, she just couldn’t get to sleep.
Without me there to calm her down, she screamed until she vomited. Sometimes she drifted off for half an hour, but then she was wide awake again.
It was worse than any nightmare. Florence was so tired that she couldn’t reach her potential at school, my husband and I had to sleep separately, and I was so exhausted that I really couldn’t function.
From a living nightmare to sweet dreams
The sleep deprivation made me feel like I was on the brink of a breakdown, like I was going mad. I was looking everywhere for help, but I couldn’t find any – until I found you.
That’s because your support helps Scope run their Sleep Solutions service. I started going along to workshops, and it was ground breaking.
Before, I thought that Florence would never be able to sleep alone in her own bed. I feared that she might never fulfil her potential. But thanks to you, I realised that a good night’s sleep wasn’t just a dream. It could be a reality.
You transformed our lives, night and day
With your support, Scope gave me so many tips and tools for getting Florence to sleep. I discovered how to calm her down by sending out signals – like going upstairs means that playtime is over, and putting on pyjamas means that it’s time for bed. And I learned that after lights out, I shouldn’t cook or check on her all the time, to avoid stimulating her senses.
All this has made such a difference. Florence is sleeping soundly, and I have just about caught up on my sleep after five years! Because Florence is finally getting the rest that she needs, she’s doing really well at school.
Sarah and Flo’s family life is much happier and more balanced. They now feel so positive about the future. That’s what a good night’s sleep can do. And it’s what your support can do. So thank you.