Hi, I can imagine how worried and anxious you must have been about your son's condition at times. It sounds like he may have ADHD. Perhaps, ADHD condition may have caused or contributed to his difficulty falling asleep and irritability. Transitions may be difficult for him. I wonder if he is working with his doctor and child therapist/counselor now. First, you may help him to relax before going to bed or during daytime in general.
You may try some or all of the following - 1. Music: Play for him his favorite music. Certain forms of music have the power to soothe his mind and body. 2. Exercise: Ask him to relax his muscles. Ask him to focus on different muscles of the body and try relaxing them one at a time. Physical relaxation eventually leads to the relaxation of his mind. 3. Laughter: Laughter, popularly denoted, as the best medicine is an excellent relaxation technique for children. 4. Visualization: Encouraging him picturing the things he loves can make him feel relaxed. Allow him to imagine something nice and visualize that scenario in front of his closed eyes. Imaging of good things happening to him is definitely helpful. You may read children's books with a happy ending to him. 5. Take a break: Taking a break from the daily routine is very necessary when it comes to relaxation.
In general, he will benefit from seeing a psychotherapist who specializes in Play therapy and Children/Preteens. He can express big feelings and fantasies in play, artwork and talk, which may help him not to daydream much. He may also need to learn social and interpersonal skills through individual therapy or a group therapy for preteens with similar problems. For ADD
, he may need Medication/CNS stimulants and Behavioral and Cognitive-Behavioral interventions by classroom teacher, and positive reinforcement by teacher and parents. You can develop and implement the reward system for his achievement of tasks. You may use a small treat to reinforce him good performance in home. He has to understand the reward system and be motivated to do so. In addition, you can continue to help him develop attention, organization, and task completion skills. For example, you develop a routine schedule for him and stick to it. You may also clear away distractions around his bed. You also may teach him how to control impulse for instant gratification in middle of his routine. One of strategies is telling him "STOP, LOOK, LISTEN, AND THINK" to delay his instant desire. Also, PRAISE whenever he sticks to routines and completes whatever he has to do at the moment. PRAISE (positive reinforcement) is as important as correcting his behavior. Importantly, he has to feel positive about self and his achievement. Additionally, you can also check resources at National Resource Center on ADHD. (Website address: http://www.help4adhd.org/ ) You may call 1-800-233-4050 in the National Resource Center on ADHD for any question on ADHD. Please let me know if I have overlooked any or you have more questions. Warm regards,