Even thought the sleep issue is far from resolved, I have seen some very nice things since Sam started Clonidine. He is a little calmer. I know many people object to the idea of controlling behavior through meds (and I might have agreed with you years ago). For Sam though, his hyperactivity and impulse control issues were becoming safety issues. He compulsively throws hard objects at the ceiling, he feel compelled to put his mouth on countertops and pots on the stove (regardless of whether they are hot), he puts rocks in his mouth, he jumps off of high surfaces, he jumps straight up in the air and lands on his knees, etc. Years of strictly bahavioral therapy didn't help this. If anything, I feel he has gotten worse. So, with the Clonidine he is toned down a bit. ALso, he is more affectionate. He reminds me of the Sam he was when he was until about age 3. He used to sit on my lap a lot, give full body hugs, nuzzle shis head into me and sit next me on the couch. He is doing this again. It is so wonderful to spend the last few mintues before bed sitting on the couch with Sam rather than trying to stop him from throwing blocks and books at the ceiling. Finally, he is a little less frantic at night. He still wakes multiple times but he settles down a little better.
I don't know exactly how Clonidine works in the brain but I know it has a number of applications. It was originally a blood pressure medication. It is also used as a sleep aid, for ADHD and as an aid for smoking cessation. For Sam, it seems to be a positive addition. We are still working out the dosage. I think we have to wait to finalize that because Sam has a fever this week and it is hard to tell whether he is groggy because he is sick or because he needs a lower dose.
I would never tell another parent to put her child on meds but I am very comfortable with this choice we have made.