Previously, we discussed how diagnosis and small preparations are the first half to helping children with Autism get better sleep at night.
In this second half, we’ll now cover the process of how you can also diagnose your home to identify all possible things that trigger your child’s Autism at night and make sleeping difficult.
For starters, it is important to remember that Autism has a tremendous impact on your child’s senses. Experts generally call it difficulties with sensory integration and it is one of the reasons why they have meltdowns. Therefore, when preparing your home, there are four senses you have to think about.
Light, even if not directly seen, can still have some way of stimulating a brain with Autism. When it’s time for bed, make sure all members of the household follow a firm ‘lights-out’ rule. This goes especially for what is called blue spectrum light.
Blue spectrum light has a negative effect on melatonin, the hormone that normalises proper sleeping patterns. It is usually produced by many electronic devices so it is vital that your child should not be exposed to them at least an hour before bedtime.
And in case your child has some need for a nightlight, you can still opt for red-hued lights that are toned down. Its impact on melatonin isn’t as big as blue light. Similar tools like blue light blocking glasses can also be advisable if your child’s condition may still require some form of screen-based tools.
One important rule of thumb when it comes to caring for someone with ASD is never assuming you hear sounds on the same level they do. Some may hear even the faintest, most ambient sound to a louder degree.
Others may have Auditory Processing Disorder. They can hear on the same level but their brains ascribe a different meaning that fuels feelings of anxiety and stress.
Some of the ways you can deal with this are more vigilant soundproofing in the area closest to your child’s bedroom. Apply to carpet on wooden floors and make sure hinges are well-oiled. And on the therapy side of things, you can also consider integrated sound treatments to better improve the connection between the ears and the brain.
Autism can also cause some children to experience mild discomfort with certain fabrics or with certain types of beds. Spring beds, for example, have metal components that a sensitive mind can be painfully more aware of and it really can keep a child awake at night.
Select a bed that is softer and can greatly absorb the harder parts of its frame. Avoid pajamas that are too tight and increase contact with fabric.
A child’s preferred sleeping position should be considered as well. Consult your family’s doctor on what possible ways that position can be used to further help with sleep (weighted blankets are one example).
Just like with sound, a child with autism can smell things that might actually go unnoticed by other people. Naturally, this too can make for difficult sleep and it’s important for parents to really listen to their child carefully if they hear their child say that something smell’s funny in their room.
When investigating possible sources, always start with items that give off the strongest scent and then work your way down from there. Keep in mind that a smell doesn’t have to be unpleasant to still create sleeping difficulties for a child with ASD.
In addition to that, consider using aromatherapy devices that have smells that are less intense and relaxing for your child.
On a final note, always keep in mind that everything you have done at this point will serve as a strong backbone for your child’s entire lifestyle. That means, by doing it right, you are not only getting them a good night’s sleep. You are creating an environment that will be of tremendous help to them as they grow up.
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