Lexy has always had issues in two areas, sleeping and calming herself down. I've written about them before here and here.
Sleeping - she goes through cycles of either not being able to go to sleep for hours, waking during the night or both.
Self calming - she gets herself worked up over something and she doesn't have the ability to calm herself back down. She will begin to breathe heavy, get tears in her eyes/cry, resist doing the task at hand and doesn't want to be alone.
When Lexy came to us (at 4 mos.) we noticed both of these issues (as well as others) right away. We helped her through both issues by holding, rocking, singing, carrying, etc...that is after she stopped resisting our touch and began allowing us to comfort her. Lexy has overcome most of the issues she faced because of the neglect (and subsequent attachment problems) she endured before coming to us. She is fully attached and a delightful, funny, smart and loving girl.
And while the sleep and self calming issues happen less frequently now, she still struggles with them. We haven't been able to identify a "why" or "when" for these issues to flare up, they just do. For the sleep issues, we have worked with Lexy to identify things that she can do to help herself get to sleep (I listed some of our ideas in one of the previous posts) but they include listening to noise/music, covering her eyes, playing quietly in bed and if all else fails a half melatonin. The waking in the middle of the night issue is usually solved by moving herself to the couch (she has done our bed too but we discourage this one b/c our bed is too small and she moves around too much).
The self-calming has been a little trickier. Through the years Lexy has learned to identify when she is at "that point" and she will tell me "I'm mad or sad about something and I don't know what to do". It's sad to see her get to this point b/c I can see the fear and desperation for me to do something to help her in her eyes. A lot of times this issue arises when she can't get herself to sleep at night even after trying her hardest (she's not wanting to take melatonin right now and I won't force it) but it also happens at other times during the day (such as homework time last night). I've tried giving her ideas on what else to try, diffusing with humor, telling her to go to timeout/back to bed to calm down...they don't work. I tend to end up (sadly) feeling irratated and frustrated and then I feel bad b/c I know she's not doing this on purpose and she truly just wants my help so I pull her on my lap for a snuggle...and that does it, she's calm. She's begun asking if we can snuggle when she knows she's too worked up to calm herself.
So last night, 15 min. before bedtime I asked Lexy (when she was calm) if she wanted a snuggle and she climbed into my lap. After the 15 min. passed we went on with her bedtime routine...and she went to sleep without getting herself worked up!! This may not work again tonight or the next night but last night it did!
I won't always be able to snuggle with her though...so I need to continue to research things to teach her so that when I'm not available for a snuggle or she's a teen that wants to believe she has no parents or she's an adult out on her own that she will have the skills to comfort and calm herself.
I hate that she had to endure those four months before she came to us and that she may very well have to work hard to overcome the damage that was done in those four months for the rest of her life :(