As a mother, I will never give up on my child. As a mother of a child who has autism, I will never give up hope.
I look into his eyes and I see all the potential that he has to offer to this beautiful world and I just know that one day the world can see what I see.

Follow my blog as I share my life and my experiences as a person who loves someone with autism.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Time for Bed

Effective parental interactions to promote sleep is essential for a child with autism.

Monitoring daytime habits that promote or hinder sleep are as important as the night time habits.

  • Daytime exercise: Is important but limit evening exercise which may stimulate the child
  • Light: It’s important for everyone to get sunlight, but ensure that the sleeping environment isn’t too well light, or to dark
  • Diet: Monitoring intake of caffeine in the afternoon and evenings may promote a better sleep experience
  • Napping: If they nap in the afternoon or evening it may interfere with the child’s ability to sleep
  • Punishment: Make sure that you don’t use the bedroom as a timeout or punishment, it may make the child uncomfortable being asked to go to their bedroom in the evenings
  • Avoid stimulating activities like playing video games or exercise
  • Dim lighting is the calmest environment as long as it’s not too dark that it panics or makes your child uncomfortable
  • Sensory issues should be addressed, weighted blankets or softer or coarser material may make your child comfortable

A visual schedule board can be helpful for children who are unable to communicate or require structure, like Bryce.

Time for bed

Even if your child can understand and respond positively to verbal queue’s it’s important not to establish the requirement of verbal queue’s throughout the process. Once your child is dependant on verbal queue’s it’s difficult to remove them later. Instead use the visual schedule board, it provides your child with a clear indication of your expectations, and they can also refer back to it throughout the process if they need to.

If your child has difficulty, it is good for you to stand behind your child and use a “hand-over-hand” approach, and referring back to the schedule board. Avoid verbal queue’s and avoid getting angry. Also avoid making it un-enjoyable OR enjoyable (stimulating) for the child. They will get it… eventually!

The idea is you want to do everything you can to make your child’s sleeping environment calm and relaxing.

The best advice I have to give is to be patient.


Information from Vanderbilt University Medical Center
© Vanderbilt Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders and Drs. Malow and McGrew

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