Over at her website, The Pensive Pediatrician, Dr. Denise Somsak writes thoughtful posts for parents about various topics. Today, she published a post about the challenges of sleep training her son, who is autistic. I found it to be moving, and extremely useful as well. I learned a lot from this. Sample:
Imagine trying to sleep naked on a metal table in the middle of crowded airport. That very well could be how your autistic child feels in his bed. Take sensory issues seriously. Work with an occupational therapist and use what you know about your child to optimize his sleep environment. Over time, we have discovered how to help David sleep despite his inability to clearly verbalize his desires:
I see a fair amount of children in clinic with autism spectrum disorders. My colleague Dr. Ken Sassower here at Mass General is an expert in this area. There is a lot of useful information here. I would echo that the use of tight sheeting or heavy blankets can be helpful. I have had good luck with melatonin in some of these children but not all of them. Sometimes long acting melatonin may be useful but requires that the child swallow a pill. Obviously, the use of a sleeping medication, even an over the counter one, should be discussed with your child’s pediatrician prior to use.
Read the full post here: