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Chronic fatigue in 14 year old

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    Chronic fatigue in 14 year old

    My daughter just turned 14 and has been diagnosed with autism, intellectual disability, APD and OCD, anxiety and depression. We have received many therapies and services for the areas listed but my biggest concern now is her sleep. She sleeps about 10 hours per night and most nights doesn't wake up, but she almost always takes two naps everyday, lasting from 1-2 hours. We did sleep studies when she was younger that just came back with mild sleep apnea. She is on medication for anxiety, depression and levothyroxine for her thyroid. The sleeping didn't seem to coincide with starting or changing doses on any of these medications. Does anyone have any ideas of what I should do or have checked out? She has this cyclical schedule every year where she gets very anxious and agitated in the spring and the fall and rages and is very hard to manage, but the rest of the year is very pleasant to be around.

    She currently sees a psych and endocrinologist and vision therapist. I am somewhat leary of taking her to specialists because they always seem to blow off the symptoms she is having and I am the crazy mom, but I will take her somewhere if I think it will help. Even if you don't have experience with this issue, can you offer any support for the fact that we have hit a standstill with academics. She is great at math, but every other subject is an issue. She is in vision therapy to help with her reading and we are doing equipping minds to help with memory and she is taking confirmation class at church and that is a good amount of work. Otherwise that is all we are accomplishing right now. I have five other kids and I am finding that is all I am able to accomplish between her naps. College is not the goal, she refinishes furniture with her dad and has been developing that into a business, which she will probably do as an adult, I am just struggling with being concerned with her health and worrying about academics. Sorry if this is confusing, I am trying to write as she sleeps and homeschooling the other kids.

    #2
    Hi, Jennifer.

    Fwiw, my son sleeps quite a bit in the winter, possibly due to medications, the lessened amount of daylight, colder temperatures, or all of the above.

    To keep nighttime sleep consistent we do not allow naps unless he has a fever. He heads to bed around 8pm to listen to audiobooks and does not awaken until 9:00am, usually wishing he could sleep longer. We require him to be ready to go (dressed, seated for breakfast, looking at his chart for the day) by 9:30 a.m. This seems to be his best routine, so we think he is sleeping around 12 hours nightly. (His twin sister is roughly the same.)

    Even in spring/summer, he sleeps far more than most people.

    I think being awake is exhausting, as he has many of the diagnoses your daughter has, coupled with his significant mood difficulties. In the springtime and fall, we have learned to watch for signs of agitation, interrupting, arguing, "big thoughts," and weakened impulse control, as these seem to be seasonal for him, as with your daughter. We have a responsive psychiatrist on board, so he is ready to treat quickly if needed.

    For us, having ruled out other medical conditions, this is all our "normal," so I may not have much advice except to contact the person you trust the most. Present good bullet points highlighting symptoms based on whatever you suspect, and ask the person to rule out your suspected diagnoses.

    If your daughter has a responsive pediatrician or primary care dr, you might start there, as specialists might consider only a portion of your daughter's conditions, whereas the primary might consider broader concerns.

    As for academics, focus on the quality of what she studies and learns, rather than the amount or trajectory right now. Clearly she battles quite a bit mentally and physically. Her confirmation coursework is her theology/catechesis, if you're keeping hours, which you can supplement with appointed hymns for music/poetry/liturgy. Few things are more important anyway, as we have found. She does very well in math, so continue with her math as is. Not only will this help equip her with good skills for design, keeping books of a business, and working with furniture, but mathematics will help with ordering and exercising her mind. My son still does math daily for this reason (his choice). You can teach history, science, and classical studies orally. Keep her reading, but team read to lighten the load. Consider conducting literature discussions orally. Teach writing in small bites, perhaps through Classical Composition: Fable, which is a "thinking" program as well as a writing program.

    A tip: Watch her leisure time to be sure she is physically moving. Find a form of exercise she enjoys. This may help the quality of her sleep and her alertness in the daytime.

    None of this is to be considered medical advice, as I am clearly not a doctor, but only suggestions from a mom with similar children.

    Most of all, I would relieve yourself of the pressure to push your daughter beyond her abilities, no matter what people say to you. Keep expectations compassionate and kind, both for your sake and for hers.

    Comment


      #3
      JBelknap, another thought: Sometimes our children's doctors will switch a sedating medication to nighttime if they initially dosed for morning. That often helps our children with alertness in the daytime and improves quality of sleep at night; so that might be something to ask your doctor? I do feel for you. It is wearying when you know something is not right but the doctors do not seem to respect your concerns. Sometimes it can be worth hunting for someone new. After all, you have your finger on the pulse of your daughter every day. You can report in ways no one else is able to do. Find someone who will take your concerns seriously to see if something can be improved for your daughter.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks, this post was helpful. I don't have your exact situation, but have a few issues with my oldest daughter. She's 11.5 and still seems to need more than her peers. If I try to wake her the whole day is pretty ruined! ?. If we do something like a campout, sleep over (I mean, with mom, not by herself) she can manage the next day fine, but two days is too much. I have the most trouble with her in the spring....(the 1/2 birthday mark).

        Something that caught me, or made me pause for a minute was hearing Cheryl say that being awake must just be exhausting for these kids. I never had that perspective and it was just really helpful to think of that. That caused me to wonder if my daughter's day needs a little more organization...we do have some organization, but I can see some areas that need improvement. That lead me to wonder if your daughter's days are organized well?
        Christine

        (2021/2022)
        DD1 8/23/09 - Mix of MP5 and MP6 (SFL, Birds, R&S 6 Math, Language Arts with Grandma)
        DS2 9/1/11 - MP4M
        DD3 2/9/13 -MP2/MP3

        Previous Years
        DD 1 (MPK, SC2 (with AAR), SC3, SC4, SC 5/6, MP4 + FFL and R&S Math 5, MPOA Fable
        DS2 (SCB, SCC, MPK, SC2/AAR/Storytime Treasures), Traditional Spelling 1, SC5/6 Year 1
        DD3 (SCA, SCB, Jr. K workbooks, soaking up from the others, MPK, AAR), MP1

        Comment


          #5
          I agree with howiecram , this post has been very helpful!
          2021~2022
          DD (16) Independent Study (Greek, Piano, Voice)
          DS (12) SC4 ADD, Dyslexia
          DS2 (9) SC1 ADHD, ASD
          DS3 (6) SCC

          Comment


            #6
            I was dealing with chronic fatigue myself (lower case; one of my parents has an actual CF diagnosis). I started tracking my sleep with a fitness watch and discovered that most nights, although I was sleeping the right number of hours, I had next to zero minutes of deep sleep. However, if I wore blue-light blocking glasses, my deep sleep averaged nearly two hours per night!

            I wouldn’t recommend a watch for your daughter because of all the things that can be accessed with it, but it would definitely be worth trying the glasses! I use these and put them on about 3 hours before my target bedtime.

            Taking a nap made it hard to fall asleep at night but I didn’t feel I could get through the day without it. The glasses helped me get more deep sleep which then enabled me to get through the day without naps which then let me fall asleep at night.

            Another important thing is getting enough sunlight during the day. The combination of sunlight during the day and lack of blue light at night resets the body’s sleep cycle. Awareness of how much sunlight they’re getting has actually been helping my parent who has CF on top of two other chronic illnesses.

            My only other thought is checking for anemia, especially since she’s a teen. I was sleeping constantly in college and when I went home for the summer, my mom (a nurse who recognized what was going on) put me on an iron supplement. I was back to normal within a week. I don’t know the brand she had me on (not all iron supplements are good) but your doctor should know a good one.
            Jennifer
            Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

            2021-2022
            DS18: Almost done!
            DS17: MP, MPOA
            DS15: MP, MPOA
            DS12: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
            DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
            DD9: SC3
            DD6: MPK

            Comment


              #7
              I was dealing with chronic fatigue myself (lower case; one of my parents has an actual CF diagnosis). I started tracking my sleep with a fitness watch and discovered that most nights, although I was sleeping the right number of hours, I had next to zero minutes of deep sleep. However, if I wore blue-light blocking glasses, my deep sleep averaged nearly two hours per night!

              I wouldn’t recommend a watch for your daughter because of all the things that can be accessed with it, but it would definitely be worth trying the glasses! I use the Uvex Skyper glasses ($12 on Amazon) and put them on about 3 hours before my target bedtime.

              Taking a nap made it hard to fall asleep at night but I didn’t feel I could get through the day without it. The glasses helped me get more deep sleep which then enabled me to get through the day without naps which then let me fall asleep at night.

              Another important thing is getting enough sunlight during the day. The combination of sunlight during the day and lack of blue light at night resets the body’s sleep cycle. Awareness of how much sunlight they’re getting has actually been helping my parent who has CF on top of two other chronic illnesses.

              My only other thought is checking for anemia, especially since she’s a teen. I was sleeping constantly in college and when I went home for the summer, my mom (a nurse who recognized what was going on) put me on an iron supplement. I was back to normal within a week. I don’t know the brand she had me on (not all iron supplements are good) but your doctor should know a good one.
              Jennifer
              Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

              2021-2022
              DS18: Almost done!
              DS17: MP, MPOA
              DS15: MP, MPOA
              DS12: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
              DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
              DD9: SC3
              DD6: MPK

              Comment


                #8
                Thank you everyone! This is so helpful.

                Cheryl, I will try to implement more outside time and have her start to eliminate naps. I will also talk to her doctor about her medications.

                Comment


                  #9
                  howiecram She was on a very regimented schedule before the sleep issue. I have just been letting her sleep when she was tired because I assumed she was growing, but now it has been prolonged that I should look at her schedule again.
                  jen1134 I will definitely look into these glasses, thank you! I also was going to make an appt with her primary to have labs done, so hopefully we’ll see if anemia is the issue. My doctor recently put me on an iron supplement and it made a huge difference for me.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    From a nutritional point of view, I’d also look into zinc and vitamin D. I know personally if I skip my zinc supplement even one day I can barely function the next because the exhaustion is so bad.
                    Brit - Catholic homeschooling mom to 5 - 3 big boys ('01, '03, and '06), daughter ('10 - Down syndrome), and one more boy ('15 - always wound up, and non-stop movement and noise)

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Checking vitamin D levels is also a really good idea. My doctor has told me that it's not actually a vitamin but rather a sleep hormone.

                      My daughter (11.5) struggles with exhaustion also. I send her to be around 8:30 and don't wake her until 9 or 9:15, and she still struggles some throughout the day. So this post has some good tips for me to look into as well. She has epilepsy so those meds cause fatigue as well.
                      Susan

                      2021-2022
                      A (13) - Simply Classical 7/8
                      C (12) - Simply Classical 7/8
                      G (8) - Simply Classical 1

                      Comment

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