Kids With Autism And Sleep: The Autism Study That Made Me Laugh
This is a post in the weekly Autism Hopes series by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez, a mom who blogs over at AutismWonderland.
Over the years, I’ve read about many autism studies. Some have made me sad, while others were just frustrating. But this latest one made me laugh. I literally laughed out loud (I may have even snorted) when I read the headline on the Huffington Post article: Kids with Autism May Have Poorer Sleep.
According to the latest autism study, “kids with autism may sleep less each night due to disturbed sleep than children without the condition.” The research also reveals that “total sleep duration is shorter and punctuated by more frequent walking at night.” NO…you don’t say!
When my son, Norrin, was first born I was adamant about keeping him out of our bed. Norrin slept in his crib from the moment he was first born. By the time my four-month maternity leave was over, Norrin was pretty much sleeping through the night.
Then we converted his crib to a toddler bed. Norrin hated it. He cried, kicked and screamed for hours before falling asleep. Looking back, I see it as one of the first signs of autism – the change in routine was upsetting. With time, Norrin got used to the bed but the freedom of getting in and out of bed was too tempting. And that’s when the sleepless nights really started.
If you follow my blog or Facebook page regularly you’ll know when we’ve had a night of no sleep. There are many nights when Norrin will wake up at 3AM – aka the Witching Hour - and stay up until it’s time to go to school. My kid can party like a ASD rock star. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even try to put him back to sleep. I just lay in bed and listen. So long as Norrin doesn’t try to open the front door, he can stay up and play
quietly in his room. Some nights, he crawls into our bed and plays on the iPad until he falls asleep. And there are many nights when he just stays up and I figure - if I can’t beat him, might as well join him.
It’s been years of sleepless nights for us. I’ve tried melatonin (it helps to put him asleep, it doesn’t keep him asleep) and lavender. I’ve following routines and tried keeping him up later. I’ve tried warm milk and weighted blankets. I’ve yet to find the thing that really works.
I didn’t need a study to tell me that kids with autism sleep less. I have enough autism mom friends on Facebook to prove that little theory. Whenever I share about having a sleepless night, there’s always a mom who says the same. If scientists can conduct a study to figure what helps kids with autism sleep through the night, that will be the study that will have me and every other autism mom jumping up and down with joy.
Does your kid sleep through the night? What does 3AM in your house look like? And if your kid with autism is older – let me know if it gets better. I’d like a good night’s sleep sometime in the near future.
Tags: autism, Autism Hopes, Disability, health, Lisa Quinones Fontanez, raising kids with special needs | Categories: Autism, Children With Special Needs, Must Read, Special Needs, Special Needs Parenting, To The Max