Bedtime at the Reain home used to be a battle. "We had to fight tooth and nail to get Quinn to bed," explains Quinn's mom, Kim Reain. "There were many years of sleeplessness for the whole family," adds Dan Reain, Quinn's dad. Waking him up in the morning was another struggle for the family.
Quinn's sleeping troubles began around age 4. Kim says that while her son slept well as an infant and toddler, he had croup four times a year and never outgrew it. Croup, an infection of the larynx, trachea and bronchial tubes associated with a barky cough, creates progressive breathing difficulty as the air passages narrow.
When Quinn was 6 and hospitalized with croup, one of his doctors suggested that he had pediatric obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that occurs when breathing becomes partially or completely blocked by the collapse of the upper airway during sleep. The result is a drop in oxygen and a rise in carbon dioxide in the body. The disruption of oxygen causes the brain to be disturbed and wakes the child several times throughout the night, preventing sound sleep. In the morning, because the child hasn't slept soundly, it may be difficult to wake him up.
"Young kids often don't complain of being sleepy," says Dr. Cami Matthews, a pediatrician in sleep medicine at Wisconsin Sleep (wisconsinsleep.org), located in Madison's UW Research Park. She also sees patients from infants to 18 years of age at the American Family Children's Hospital.
Matthews says that symptoms of pediatric sleep apnea include snoring or labored breathing during sleep, mouth breathing, crabbiness, inattentiveness, poor school performance, bed wetting after having been dry for a long time, morning headaches, restlessness and hyperactivity. Often the symptoms of pediatric sleep apnea look like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
"Apnea" is a medical term referring to a pause in breathing. Many children and adults who snore regularly will have a few apneas or breathing pauses or hypopneas, partial pauses throughout the night. Statistics from Wisconsin Sleep show that adults with sleep apnea stop breathing 10 to 60 times or more every hour. Children with sleep apnea have symptoms if breathing pauses occur as low as two times an hour. The breathing pauses or changes usually last 10 to 20 seconds.
Risk factors for pediatric sleep apnea include large tonsils, nasal allergies, obesity, Down syndrome, deformities resulting in a small face or air passage, and disorders causing muscular weakness.
"Parents should talk to their child's pediatrician if their child snores, has trouble waking up in the morning or if bedtime is a struggle," Matthews adds. Sleep apnea is more common in the last part of the night, during REM sleep. Matthews suggests that parents audio or video record their child sleeping and bring the recording to the pediatrician so that the doctor can determine if a sleep study or sleep consult is needed.
The sleep study, or polysomnography, is a comprehensive recording of physical changes and activities that occur during sleep. Usually performed at night, the study monitors body functions including brain, eye movements, muscle activity, heart rhythm and breathing through sensors placed on the face, chest and legs.
Sleep studies for children and adults are conducted at Wisconsin Sleep, which opened in 2007. The Wisconsin Sleep program serves over 6,000 patients each year between the sleep lab and the sleep clinic. Fourteen sleep techs conduct the sleep studies in the 16 private sleep study suites. For children, the sleep study suites have a second bed so that a parent can stay with the child.
The Wisconsin Sleep program is a collaborative effort of the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation and Meriter Hospital. It's led by medical director Ruth Benca, M.D., who has worked in the field of sleep medicine for almost 30 years, 20 of them at the UW. "We treat the full range of sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, insomnia, sleep-related movement disorders, circadian rhythm disorders, parasomnias and disorders of excessive sleepiness," Benca says. "We treat all age ranges, from infants to the elderly."
Before his sleep apnea diagnosis, Quinn, now 11, suffered from night terrors and vivid dreams. He mumbled in his sleep and experienced weight gain for seven years. Because of the night terrors and vivid dreams he was afraid to go to sleep. Upon waking, he wasn't sure if his dreams were reality or part of his imagination. "I remember a vivid dream where I was watching a commercial and there was an alien crawling on a spaceship. The alien said, "I want air," Quinn recalls.
Quinn is one of Dr. Matthews' patients. Since his sleep study, he uses a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine at night. A gentle flow of air is sent from the machine through the nose to the back of the throat. The air acts like an "air stent" to hold the air passage open during sleep.
"This is going to be my year!" Quinn said after waking from the first night of using the CPAP machine. Kim and Dan Reain agree that since starting the CPAP, there's been a big change for the positive. "We all realized that Quinn's sleep problems weren't his fault. We spent three or four years trying to change his behavior," Kim says.
The sixth-grader is home-schooled and has played piano since age 6. Until his sleep apnea was diagnosed, he couldn't have sleepovers with his friends. A recent sleepover netted comments from his friends about how he slept like a baby. ?
Pediatric sleep apnea statistics
Statistics from the Infant and Children Sleep Apnea Awareness Foundation website, www.kidssleepdisorders.org/awareness, and Wisconsin Sleep.comments powered by Disqus
I think the first time in recent years that I've felt a real sense of shame, as both a parent and community member, was last Tuesday evening as I sat in a crowded elementary school LMC to listen to Ken Taylor, executive director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, and his colleague, Torry Wynn, present key findings from the 2013 Race to Equity report to our PTO group.
It's Wednesday morning at Allis Elementary School on Madison's east side, and 16 third-graders " 10 boys and six girls " enter into an open-space classroom in typical wiggly, giggly style. Some are making goofy faces at one another, some are bouncing around hand-in-hand with friends, and others are just trying to stay out of the whirling-dervish path of activity.
Of the 789 poorly-composed, way-too-dark and out-of-focus photos currently living on my iPhone, I can count on two hands the number that show my kids and me together. And my husband is in probably no more than three or four of those.
Something kind of magical has happened these past two weeks during the Sochi Olympics. There is no question, debate or disagreement on what will be watched on television once all homework is done. Everyone in the family makes time to sit down together to watch an hour of so of the primetime televised games.
Truth be told, though, this month I'm feeling a bit cinematically fried. In some ways, I already feel like I've spent the last week or so at a film festival. A festival specializing in minute-long glimpses of ordinary lives all ending with credits that feature the ubiquitous blue thumbs-up. Yes, it's been the February of the Facebook movie.
Just last week, on precisely the same day the Momastery post was getting over a million well-deserved views, Madison mom Suzanne Buchko was telling a similar story. Not on a blog but instead in the confines of the modestly circulated Franklin-Randall Elementary School weekly newsletter.
Late last month, the Madison Metropolitan School District adopted a five-year, $27.7 million technology plan calling for all district students, including those in the primary grades, to have significantly increased access to their very own tablet or notebook computer by 2019. Some parents, as well as education professionals, questioned whether elementary-aged kids, especially kindergarteners who aren't even able to read or write yet, will gain much benefit from introducing yet another screen into their lives.
This past Monday, had winter's unrelenting weather allowed, Middleton Cross Plains School District teacher Andrew Harris would have once again been at the helm of a classroom. After nearly four years of fighting his dismissal from Glacier Creek Middle School for viewing and passing on sexually explicit material on district computers, MCPSD has been legally forced to reinstate Herris, this time as a seventh-grade science teacher at Kromrey Middle School.
In a study published last week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, academics have found that the 16 and Pregnant series may have played a significant role in the recent decrease in U.S. teen pregnancies.
In our house, sad but true, we've rarely spent the Martin Luther King holiday discussing race, social justice or the power of non-violent civil disobedience. Instead, the third Monday in January has historically been treated as just another day off school, just another long weekend. And it's been a missed opportunity.
It's not something that happens very often, but last Friday, as news of the impending arctic cold snap reached our house, my kids were rooting for Governor Scott Walker. They were rooting for him to take Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton's lead and cancel school throughout the state. They couldn't care less if he had the authority to do such a thing -- if he called off school, he'd be their hero.
Late last semester, as students were packing up their backpacks one final time before winter break, Middleton High School principal Denise Herrmann and assistant principal Lisa Jondle were co-authoring a note home to parents informing them of a widespread cheating scandal involving nearly 250 calculus students at the school.
Breathe in, breathe out. Have you ever been in the heat of a parenting moment with these words ringing through your head? Then you're on the right path toward mindful parenting.
The week between Christmas and New Year's is famous for all sorts of things. Malls are packed with folks exchanging those holiday sweaters that don't fit just right. It's the week those same folks pledge to never again eat another frosted sugar cookie or candy cane (hence the sweater issues). It's also the week the media saturates the public with dozens of "Best of Year" lists.
This will not (although it could) be a treatise on the value of "alone time" for a healthy marriage, though. Nor will it be an ode to how nice it was for me to have a few days off from lunch-packing, carpool-driving and homework-nagging.
For those of you who haven't yet seen it, the eight-week-long transit campaign, placed both inside and on the outside of buses, features a photo of an orange tabby with a stainless steel bar drilled into its head accompanied by the line "I am not lab equipment. End UW cat experiments!" Just as PETA hopes, the image is shocking and demands an immediate response.
If I had my druthers, I'd sit out the entire shopping week that follows Thanksgiving. Black Friday, for starters, has corrupted the fine art of bargain shopping and turned it into a gladiator sport. There is no percentage off that is worth losing sleep, or even worse an eye, over. Especially if you have kids in tow.
When you shop for toys, there is always the conflict between what you think is appropriate/adorable and what the child being shopped for might actually want/play with.
Many of the pop-culture seasonal touchpoints of my youth are completely lost on my kids. You see, while I may have memorized every word to both the Snow Miser and the Heat Miser's songs from The Year Without a Santa Claus, I'm pretty sure the only Rankin-Bass stop-motion Christmas special my kids have ever seen has been Rudolph.
I am so thrilled that the United Way is sponsoring a Teen Gift Drive this holiday season. Sure, teen "wants" often aren't as fun to shop for as precious baby dolls and sweet Lego sets. But middle and high school kids still "need" to feel valued and loved during this time of year. And helping a family in need to provide this for their child is a wonderful way to get in the spirit.