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Son has a fear of 'disappearing'

This discussion was created from comments split from: Ask a sleep expert.


  • PaulaMcCPaulaMcC Member Posts: 6 Connected
    My son is 12 years old, has a diagnosis of Asd, Adhd and learning difficulties. He is on meds during the day for his adhd and takes melatonin at nights. He has a fear of 'disappearing' when he goes asleep and that mum and dad will disappear too. It's gotten worse over the years and he's now afraid of dreams and doesn't want to go asleep in case he dreams and refuses to sleep on his own. ive tried social stories and reward charts but we just cant seem to make any headway. 
  • SleepPractitionersSleepPractitioners Member Posts: 43 Courageous
    Hi Paula
    Make sure you have a good pre-bedtime routine in place, take a look at the link, this would be your starting point. where it says a bedtime story we would suggest instead you do ten good things, this is where you would get him to tell you ten good things that have happened to him that day, this ends the day on a positive note. remember that once you have said goodnight do not engage in conversation or eye contact until morning.
    We advise you not to ask him questions about his fears as this could strengthen his fear, but what we would advise is to teach him that a thought is something we can take control of and change for a positive thought this in turn produces a positive feeling.
    We have two mantra's that we suggest the young people repeat to themselves as they lay in bed, this has the same effect as counting sheep, it focusing your mind on something other than fears or anxieties:
    1) A thought is a thought and a thought can be changed.
    2) Change the thought, change the feeling.
    Remember it takes at least 3 weeks to establish a new routine.
    Stay strong and consistent
    Good luck

  • PaulaMcCPaulaMcC Member Posts: 6 Connected
    Thanks so much for suggesting the 10 good things before bed, I always would have went down the line of 'are you worried about anything', I never thought about it strengthening the fear.  I will definitely start doing this with him and will have a look at our bedtime routine.  Thanks again for your response :-)
  • CaderMacCaderMac Member Posts: 105 Pioneering
    @worrybag this sounds like your area of expertise! 
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