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<p>My dd is about to turn 5 and we have been dealing with sensory and sleep issues from day 1.  As a baby she had to sleep on top of me and has had to be held through every nap she's ever taken.  When I would hold her through her naps I noticed she woke at predictable intervals.  Sleep was horrific for us at nighttime until around age 4--she'd wake up a lot and could not go back to sleep without nursing or me bouncing her on the side of the bed.  We finally had to stop nursing at night because it did cause tooth decay for her, which we've since had fixed, and now from age 4 until now she can USUALLY wake up and then snuggle up next to me (or actually, wrap herself in one of my arms to snuggle).  It takes her a while to go to sleep (average is 45 mins to an hour) because it is as if her brain cannot shut down.  We are media-free and at night I always do low-lighting for a hour or so, but even then it can be difficult to get her to calm down enough to sleep--even when I KNOW she's exhausted.  Earlier bedtimes do nothing but make her wake up earlier.  Her average bedtime is around 10:30 p.m. and she sleeps usually until 9-9:30 a.m.  I've noticed on a handful of occasions when I've woken up before her that she'll stop breathing for about 3 seconds or so and then do a catch-breath.  I've witnessed this maybe 2 or 3 times her entire lifetime, today being one of those days (we're currently all sick with a cold if that matters).  As for sensory issues, I mentioned the sensory issues and sleep above but we've also dealt with hyper sound sensitivity (we've used a sound machine at night since she was a few months old to help), hyper light sensitivity (we have darkening curtains), food sensitivities (we dealt with texture issues until age 3, but she's over those now, and as an infant she had an issue with eggs/soy/dairy but she's long outgrown that), and sensitivity to touch (although she's pretty much outgrown that too).  We nursed until age 4.5, and nursed exclusively for the first year of her life.  We also have co-slept from the beginning and have never tried CIO because I have always thought that dd's sleep issues were neurological in nature, not behavioral, so any behaviorist techniques would not work and cause emotional damage.  I've never had a Pediatrician that I could trust and we don't do well visits.  The few times I mentioned dd's sleep issues, they got written off as me being overprotective and dd just needing to learn to CIO.  Her sleep this past year has been better--we've had far fewer episodes of her waking in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep (sometimes it can take 2-4 hours to get her back to sleep).  She's never had nightmares, it's just like her brain wakes up and won't let her sleep.  She used to wake up like clockwork at 3 a.m. and I'd have to bounce her back to sleep.  Now, her waking is more erratic and I don't notice it as much because she usually wakes up, rolls over onto me, and goes back to sleep.  Her morning sleep is far more fitful, though, I know.  We have never sought OT for dd's sensory issues but I've worked a lot with her on my own and between that, having a very calming environment (we're Waldorf-inspired homeschoolers), and just getting older, she's able to cope really well these days. </p>
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<p>What's mostly worrying me is the sleep apnea that I've witnessed a few times.  I have no idea if this is uncommon or dangerous and I don't know what kind of doctor I should see.  I also don't know if it's related to her general sleep difficulties (which have been improving) or to SPD or to giftedness.  (She doesn't snore, so we'd be looking at central sleep apnea, I believe.) And lastly, I don't know what kind of doctor we should see to find out any answers.  I DO wish dd could sleep more restfully, but overall, her sleep seems to be okay for her--she doesn't have low energy usually and seems okay.  I can tell when she needs extra sleep because she'll get random cases of hiccups all day, especially if she laughs.  I've noticed since she was a baby that hiccups mean she needs more sleep.  We do not currently use any medicines or herbals for her sleep, although she does take fish oil and a multi-vitamin once a day.</p>
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<p>Can anyone help me?</p>
 

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<p>She needs a sleep study. I'd start by calling local children's hospitals.</p>
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<h3 class="r"><a class="l" href="http://www.sleepapnea.org/resources/pubs/child.html" target="_blank">Having Your <em>Child</em> Evaluated for <em>Sleep</em> Apnea - American <em>Sleep</em> Apnea <b>...</b></a></h3>
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<p><a href="http://www.google.com/search?q=sleep+study+children&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:eek:fficial&client=firefox-a" target="_blank">http://www.google.com/search?q=sleep+study+children&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:eek:fficial&client=firefox-a</a></p>
 

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<p>A sleep study wouldn't be a bad idea. I'd also revisit the food intolerances. Often the outward issues can go away but neurological symptoms are still present.</p>
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<p>She sounds a LOT like my 5yo DS. He's incredibly difficult to get to sleep, and wakes several times a night. He has to be physically touching me (ie me spooning him) to get to sleep, and we also give him melatnonin at bedtime which helps a ton.</p>
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<p>Interesting about the hiccups. DS always had the worst hiccups in utero and then as a baby.</p>
 

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<p>I have experience with this for two children.</p>
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<p>DS1 - Sleep Apnea.  We actually caught it ourselves by using google with his symptoms.  We fought our Peds for about 1 1/2 years till they finally ordered a sleep study or we were going to file a complaint with the medical board for failure to diagnose.</p>
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<p>DS2 - RLS/Periodic Limb Movement.  We caught this, because we noticed he showed a lot of signs of sleep deprivation (just like DS1), but he didn't show any signs of Sleep Apnea.  While going through a Dev. Ped. Eval, we were referred for a sleep study, and the sleep study came back negative for Sleep Apnea (which we already knew would) and positive for RLS/PLM.  The Sleep Clinic Doc orders bloodwork, and that blood work came up with his serum iron level being about 1/2 of what it should be for his age.  We are now on iron suppliments to try to increase his serum iron level.  We have also tried melatonin, which worked wonders for a while to help get him to sleep.</p>
 
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