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T3i Failure to Focus on Low Light

My T3i with the kit lens (18-55 f3.5) hunts relentlessly when shooting in low light. Tried higher ISO but still cannot grab a proper focus. Additionally, when a flash is added (Sunpak 3000) it still has trouble finding focus. All ideas are welcome.

@tconstan wrote:
Kvbarkley, the 3000c has infrared assist. I don't understand disco flash reference.

Cameras with the built-in flash can use it as a "focus assist" beam.  

It is a feature that can be enabled or disabled, depending your mode dial setting on top of the camera.  During a low light focus scenario, the camera will raise the flash, and then rapidly  fire it like a strobe light in a disco.

Whether or not the flash will fire when you take the shot is an entirely different setting.  Again, by "disco flash", he means "focus assist."

"The right mouse button is your friend."