How to help sleepwalkers

30 March 2016

Dear Friend,

Our night time visitor has appeared twice now. He walks into the room with a confused look on his face and when I say: Hello, what's wrong? he answers, I need the toilet but then walks towards the utility off the kitchen. I lead him towards the toilet and quickly to avoid accidents.

I'm not sure if he wakes but we usually have a short cuddle and then I take him up to bed. I have to direct him as he is very sleepy. In the morning he doesn't remember. Apparently Hubby used to be a sleep walker so I thought I better find more information and see if there is anything we can do to try and stop it happening. I am concerned about him injuring himself.

Sleepwalking is when someone walks or carries out complex activities while not fully awake. 

Sleepwalking is common in children with 20% of children sleepwalking at least once. It usually happens when children are in a deep sleep within the first few hours of them falling asleep. 
That would explain why Little man has appeared at around 10 p.m.

What happens when a child sleepwalks

  • Sitting up in bed and looking around, briefly appearing confused.
  • Getting out of bed and walking about.
  • Getting dressed or eating. 
  • The child may appear agitated. 
  • The eyes are usually open, though the child will look straight through people and not recognise them. 
  • They may respond to you or say things that don't make sense.
  • Most sleepwalking episodes last less than 10 minutes, but can be longer. 
  • The child may wake up or they may return to bed and go to sleep. 
  • They won't normally have any memory of sleepwalking in the morning or have patchy memory. 
  • If woken while sleepwalking, the child may feel confused.
  • Make sure they are safe. 
  • Gently guide them back to bed by reassuring them. 
  • Sometimes, gently waking them after they have fully come out of the episode, will stop them sleep walking again during the same deep sleep cycle.
  • Don't shout or startle them

Why some people sleepwalk

There is no known cause of sleepwalking however, you are more likely to sleepwalk if you have a close family member who also sleep walked.

Sleepwalking triggers in children 

  • not getting enough sleep 
  • infection with a fever (especially in children) 
  • certain types of medication, such as some sedatives 
  • sudden noises or a touch, causing abrupt waking from deep sleep 
  • waking up suddenly from deep sleep because you need to go to the toilet


  • Make sure your child goes to bed at a similar time each night 
  • Make sure the bedroom is dark and quiet when they go to sleep 
  • Limit drinks before bedtime 
  • Make sure your child goes to the toilet before going to sleep 
  • Build in wind down time before bed, share a story 
  • If your child sleepwalks at the same time most nights, try gently waking them for a short time 15-30 minutes before they would normally sleepwalk  this may stop them sleepwalking by altering their normal sleep cycle

When to seek medical advice

Occasional sleepwalking episodes don't usually need medical attention. Sleepwalking is rarely a sign of anything serious and may get better with time.
You should see your GP if the sleepwalking episodes occur frequently.

The little man has had episodes of sleep walking when he has had a late or busy night, when we have not stuck to the usual routine of shower, story, toilet and bed. He appears to wake because he needs the toilet. Hubby and I have decided to stick to our routine, even when late, to try and keep a regular bedtime and to limit his drinking at night. I hope that will help, fingers crossed.

Do you have a sleepwalker? What are your useful tips?

I found my advice on the NHS website.

Autiquotes: Quotes about Autism

29 March 2016

My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance.

Parenting from a special perspective with Lisa from mrssavageangel

28 March 2016

Ever wondered what it is really like to parent from a special perspective? Parent to a Special Needs Child? Where do you turn for help? What challenges do you face? What has surprised you? What have you learned? Every month I will be featuring one of my brilliant fellow SEND bloggers and sharing their reflections on raising a child with special needs.

Lisa has been writing over at mrssavageangel for nearly three years. She is a stay at home mama to her 4 year old son Oscar. She lives with Oscar and her husband Ben in leafy Surrey. She writes about parenting, Oscar’s Autism diagnosis and weight loss. 

1. When did you first realise your child had Autism?

I guess on some level I’ve always known Oscar was different. He refused to breastfeed, could roll both ways by 16 weeks and was walking unaided by the age of 10 months old. He played differently to his friends, either turning his toys over to look at the underside or lining up his beloved cars. But our first real worries came about when Oscar’s speech development was not keeping up with that of his peers. By the age of 18 months he would repeat certain words, but would not use them spontaneously. Shortly after 18 months he stopped doing even that. Everyone tried to tell me it was normal, that some children don't start talking until much later, but I just knew in the pit of my stomach that this was not a work-a-day speech delay.

I asked the HV to come and see him at 2 years old. She tried to fob us off,with the same ‘some children talk later’ guff but when nothing had changed a couple of months down the line I called her back and she referred him to a paediatrician.

Family Safety: Why you should check your car tyres

23 March 2016

Dear friend,

In a couple of weeks we are taking a little road trip. I always remember my dad checking the car before we went away and I encourage hubby to do the same. I would like to say I am very hands on when it comes to car maintenance but I'd be lying! We have followed the traditional roles and the car is definitely hubby's domain. Something I regretted the last time I had a flat tyre!

My parents were visiting and we decided to have a special day out together and planned a trip to the zoo. You know what it's like trying to get a family ready, well add in two extra adults to share the bathroom and it seemed to take us all ages. Anyway breakfast finished we all squeezed into the car; I don't know who was more excited to see the tigers, grandad or the boys. However, no sooner had I set off than I could feel the wheel pulling in one direction and stopped quickly. We had all failed to notice the flat tyre as we piled excitedly into the car.

Rather embarrassingly I had no idea where the spare was or what type of tyre I would need to buy to replace the punctured one. Fortunately for me we live around the corner from a garage and we got the spare put on quite quickly and then went to get a replacement from a nearby tyre specialist. If you are totally clueless, like me, you can always check out the website from Point S, they have this brilliant tool that allows you to put in your registration and number and they tell you the type and size of tyre that you will need. I didn't realise that you should stick to the same size and type - and ideally the same brand and tread pattern - when renewing tyres.

According to a recent survey almost nine out of ten drivers do not check the overall condition of their tyres as often as they should. The statistics found that 78% of men said they were completely confident they knew how to check the overall condition of the tyres on their vehicle by themselves. Women were less confident at 43%.

Why you should check your car tyres

A faulty tyre can pose a serious safety risk. If your tyres are worn, your stopping distance is increased and you are more likely to get a puncture. As well as being dangerous, driving with worn tyres can also be costly with the fine for one tyre being up to 2500 pound, rising to a possible 10,000 for four. But who can put a cost on the lives of their family? Thank goodness we did not get our puncture whilst driving at speed on the motorway, I hate to think what could have happened.

Basic legal requirements (AA)

  • Tyres must be compatible with others on the car and generally in good physical condition
  • Tyres must be correctly inflated to the vehicle manufacturer's recommended pressure
  • Tread depth must be above the legal minimum which for passenger cars is 1.6mm throughout a continuous band in the centre 3/4 of the tread and around the entire circumference
  • You don't have to carry a spare and it doesn't have to meet the legal requirements while it's stowed away. It may however affect breakdown cover if you don't carry a serviceable spare

How long is it since you last checked your tyres? The advice is to check monthly.  Point S, have over 201 UK tyre centres (click here to check they have a location near you) and further information is available on their website to show how to check your tyre pressure and tread and how to change your tyres. Go check it out. As we head into Spring and start having more family days out, involving longer journeys it becomes more important to check your tyres, especially after driving through all those winter pot holes. Put your family's safety first. 

I am not going to wait for hubby to check the tyres this time. I'm off to do it myself! Come on ladies why don't you join me. Let's beat that 43% statistic next time.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.

Book Corner: Monstersaurus

22 March 2016

My book corner choice this month is: Monstersaurus by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort.

You may have read other books from this popular pairing as they are responsible for Aliens love underpants and Dinosaurs love underpants, both of which are favourites in our house. When I spotted Monstersaurus on offer in the supermarket I couldn't resist. The RRP is £5.99 but we picked it up as part of a special offer.

Autiquotes: Quotes about Autism

My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance.

The MADs factor

21 March 2016

Dear friend,

I used to love the X Factor. It dominated my Saturday nights for years. The glitz, the glamour, the clothes, hair and makeup and of course the singing. I loved finding out about the contestants the most and as the weeks progressed it was the main topic of conversation with colleagues and friends. We all had our favourites but certain people stood out; the characters, the exceptional talents, the ones with a story to share, who pulled at your emotions.

Now I find myself in my own reality show (well kind of). It is awards season in the blogging World and I have become wrapped up in the excitement and buzz created by the MADs and BiBs.

So which contestant am I and why would anyone want to give me their vote?

As I find it toe curlingly embarrassing to big myself up in any way at all. I'm going to hand you over to my fresh voiced, lovely and brutally honest blogging pal, Katie aka Mummy in a Tutu.

An Imperfect Mum... what kind of contestant would she be? Well let’s look at her info shall we? Catie quietly slinked into the blogging world in a very subtle way, whilst writing such poignant posts as ‘Is My Child Invisible?’ that when reading completely pulled at your heart strings and whilst emotional left you craving more of her writing right from the start. Catie started by writing about her feelings, thoughts and emotions and has gone on to writing posts such as ‘Advice for Parents of Children Newly Diagnosed with Autism’  and has gone out of her way to share all her highs and lows in a bid to help every other parent with a child who has autism. 
Catie came into my blogging life quite randomly, through one of the lovely comments she leaves on every blog she reads and I now could not imagine my virtual world without her. What has made me return to her blog again and again is her optimism and the way that she draws you straight in to what feels like a giant hug right from her ‘Dear Friend’ at the beginning of each post. The Diary of An Imperfect Mum inspires me... it inspires me to be brave and honest in my own writing and to face whatever I need to. 
You should also take a look at her Photography as she has a way of capturing thousands of words in one simple photo of both her family and wherever she may be. Catie also created her own link up called #FamilyFun which is fast on the rise and provides a wonderful place for anyone to share their own highs and lows and what makes it even better is that she really goes out of her way to leave such wonderful messages on the posts that are shared with her.
If you are looking to be inspired or for friendship, honesty or a virtual world hug then there is no other blog I’d rather go to.
So what kind of ‘X Factor’ contestant would Catie be? She’d be that quiet talent that you love right from the first audition who will probably surprise us all in the end!

(Thank you so much Katie for writing this. I actually cried when I read it!)

I'll leave you with a small speech too in typical X Factor style:

This means everything to me, it's all I've ever dreamed of. 
If you vote for me, I'll work so hard. 
Just give me a chance, please! 

But seriously, my blogging journey (Did you see what I did there?) has been pretty epic. 

I started the Diary of an imperfect mum with a few short posts; feelings, thoughts and ideas that I had been bottling up for a long time, that I had scribbled on paper, typed in notes on my phone or kept locked away deep inside. I have said it before but blogging for me is; like breathing out... 

As the mum of a special needs child it has given me the opportunity to open up and speak honestly, passionately and positively about the 'normality' of our life and provided a vehicle to raise awareness and acceptance of difference. 

Over the past year I have started my Autiquotes series: Quotes about Autism, reflections that I have made in my posts on Diary of an imperfect mum only in a more accessible form. I also shared my Hysterectomy journey by journaling my experience and completed the series with one of my most popular posts: What has having a Hysterectomy taught me. What I enjoy most about blogging is that it enables me to look back and see how far my son has come, to focus on the positives, like in these posts Life lessons my autistic son has taught me and Autism is...

I am very proud of what I have achieved so far but I don't just mean the statistics. I am most proud of the wonderful comments from people. People who have laughed, cried or perhaps learned something and felt compelled to tell me and to share my posts. Thank you to all of you who have supported me! 

SO which X factor contestant am I? I am the one who never in a million years would have done this if it hadn't been for her son showing her that anything is possible! 

Autiquotes: Quotes about Autism

15 March 2016

My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance.

Parenting from a special perspective: Spectrum Mum

8 March 2016

Ever wondered what it is really like to parent from a special perspective? Parent to a Special Needs Child? Where do you turn for help? What challenges do you face? What has surprised you? What have you learned? Every month I will be featuring one of my brilliant fellow SEND bloggers and sharing their reflections on raising a child with special needs.

I was contacted by Family Point Cymru and asked to complete an interview for their website to raise awareness of autism and hopefully help fellow SEND parents. Meg asked such great questions and I really enjoyed answering them. She inspired me to start the parenting from a special perspective series. Here are the questions and my answers. What Parenting from a Special Perspective means to me...

When did you first realise your son had autism and how did you find out?

A rather abrupt nursery teacher told us our son was; a special needs child... at age 2 ½. But we had also noticed things at home. He never really pointed at things, he was quite floppy, his play was very different, he lined things up. He hated having his hair cut and would wander away from us when we went out.

How did you feel when you found out that your son had autism?
A real mixture of emotions. First relief to know we weren't going mad there was something, hope because he was diagnosed early and I had heard that early intervention was key and also scared as I had no idea what the future would bring. 

Where did you first turn for help?
The centre where my big lad was diagnosed told us he was too young for therapy from a psychologist so we had no idea what to do. I asked my GP and the health visitors. We were referred for speech therapy and physio therapy. 

What advice would you give a parent who suspects or has just found out that their child has autism?
Don't panic! Always focus on your child and not the diagnosis.
I have written about this in detail at: Advice for parents of children newly diagnosed with Autism.

What exactly is autism? Did you know what it is when it was first diagnosed?
I am a primary school teacher and had worked with children with Asperger's syndrome so I had some understanding of Autism through my work and training. 
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects how people communicate and understand the world around them.

What are the biggest challenges facing you, your son and your family with regards to your son’s autism?
The biggest challenge for me is the lack of support. I think parents are put under a lot of pressure to coordinate their child’s care, be their advocate and to essentially become the expert. My biggest worry is that we are making the right choices for him and what his future will be.

What has been the greatest help for you, your son and your family in overcoming these challenges/in living with your son’s autism?
School: we found a really good school and have had amazing support from them. We had parental support from a psychologist to talk about our worries and concerns this was fantastic! Starting my blog. Writing about our journey has been really cathartic for me and it is great to link up with other SEND parents and follow their stories. 

What has surprised you the most about raising a child with autism?
The stereotypes: That autistic people are loners who don't want friends, that they don't show empathy or love that they are either non-verbal, low intelligence or rain man with nothing in between or that autism can be miraculously cured. 
As the saying goes: So you’ve met one person with autism then you have met one person with autism. Everyone is unique! 

What’s the main bit of/the best advice you’d give any parent who has a child with autism?
You are the expert, as you are the one that really knows your child. Don't let people tell you what your child is capable of be ambitious! Push them to achieve, they will surprise you. 

Generally, what have you learnt about parenting, life, people or children from your experiences as a parent of an autistic child?

Being a parent is challenging but we need to trust that in the end we will all arrive at the place we need to be. Our experiences are unique and it is how we choose to respond to them that will define us.

Next month we will hear from the brilliant mrssavageangel.

Thank you to Meg at family point Cymru for her questions. 

Autiquotes: Quotes about Autism

My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance.

Autiquotes: Quotes about Autism

1 March 2016

My aim is to spread a positive message about autism through my writing and to help my son to grow up in a world of understanding, compassion and acceptance.

Photography @My_Dutch_Angle

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