A solid night’s sleep is essential for good health and quality of life, but many children with autism struggle to sleep soundly through the night. This can create problems for the whole family. If your child has been having problems getting to sleep or staying asleep, talk to an ABA therapist about effective solutions.
Use a bedtime routine.
One of the hallmark symptoms of autism is the compelling need for predictable, consistent routines. When children with autism must deviate from a set routine, they may have significant problems coping with the change. Bedtime is no different. Follow the same bedtime routine with your child every night. It shouldn’t be too long—about 20 minutes is ideal. Avoid overstimulating activities, such as watching TV or playing with electronics. Instead, you can play some soothing classical music at a low volume and read a book together after your child changes into his or her pajamas.
Give your child bedtime cues.
For some children with autism, a predictable routine might not be enough. If your child gets upset when he or she has to stop an activity to get ready for bed, it can be helpful to remind your child at regular intervals that bedtime is approaching.
Maintain a soothing bedroom environment.
Adjust the bedroom environment to suit your child’s comfort needs. In general, a good environment for sleeping is one that is dark, cool, and quiet. Require your child to only fall asleep in bed—not on a couch.
Teach your child how to fall asleep alone.
One of the most common causes of frustration regarding a child’s sleep is when the child requires the presence of a parent in the bedroom to fall asleep. If your child can’t fall asleep alone, then he or she will wake you up periodically throughout the night. You can address this issue by leaving the bedroom immediately after your child’s bedtime routine, but before he or she falls asleep. An ABA therapist can also help your child feel safe and secure when he or she is alone in the bedroom.
At The Behavior Exchange, it’s our mission to help families affected by autism overcome challenges and enjoy a harmonious home environment. Our ABA therapists in Plano only use evidence-based autism therapy practices. Call us today at (888) 716-8084 with any questions you might have.