If your child with autism has trouble falling or staying asleep through the night, you are not alone! In fact, over half of the children with autism – and possibly as many as four in five – have chronic sleep problems. These sleep issues worsen their behavioral challenges, interfere with learning, and decrease their overall quality of life.
What then can you do as a parent to combat this problem? Behavioral Initiatives, your trusted Behavior Therapy in Pembroke Pines, Florida lists five domains you can focus on in establishing good sleep hygiene for your child.
- Modify sleep environment
Children with ASD might be particularly sensitive to noises and/or have sensory issues. Make sure to modify their bedroom by making it dark, quiet, and cool.
- Establish a bedtime routine
ABA Therapy in Pembroke Pines, Florida suggests a relatively 20-30 minutes bedtime routine. This should include relaxing activities such as bedtime story reading or listening to quiet music. Avoid the use of TV, computer, video games, and other electronic activities close to bedtime.
This routine also includes a consistent sleep/wake schedule with not much difference between the weekdays and weekends.
- Teach them to sleep alone
If this is an ongoing issue, you may have to take this process gradually. You can start with sitting on the other side of the room and slowly moving farther away.
- Exercise with them
Autism Therapy in Hollywood City recommends establishing daytime exercise with children. This makes it easier for them to fall asleep and have deeper sleep but should not be done close to bedtime.
- Record response to specific foods
Record their response to specific foods and exercise. Does he/she have more trouble falling asleep when he/she eats an early dinner or eats specific foods?
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