Annabelle Carter Short is a professional seamstress of more than 7 years. She’s very passionate about starting DIY business and selling handmade items and is very active in the crafting community. Annabelle is a mother who home schools her autistic son and likes making DIY projects with her kids.
When my son, Eddy, was four and a half, he was diagnosed with autism. I had suspected it before I brought him to the doctor but I didn’t want to believe it. The reason why I brought him to the doctor was because he was always hyperactive, he couldn’t focus on simple tasks, he wasn’t sleeping and he was not eating right. At school, he was violent towards other children and towards his teacher. I knew something was amiss.
He couldn’t sleep and when he did, his condition became worse. His aggression hit the ceiling, he beat his elder sister, and he would punch walls, throws utensils everywhere and would break anything he can hold on his hands. I tried so many ways to calm him down but nothing seemed to work. So, I started researching. Among the many suggestions I received, the following five ways have worked perfectly.
I Fed Him Right
I take my son to see a therapist. One of the first things that our therapist recommended was that I feed my son well. Just like for everyone else, digestion can really keep you awake at night. This means that, I have to feed my son a few hours before bedtime. Usually, I start cooking by 6PM so that my son can eat by 7PM and rest up to 9PM. If your child insists on snacking before bed, give them warm milk or some saltines. I have tried a few sleep-inducing foods such as bananas, whole meal foods, and organic yogurts and they have proven to work perfectly.
During the day, I give my son enough water to ensure he doesn’t ask for water before bedtime. This way, he doesn’t have to take bathroom breaks after at night.
I Ensured There Are No Distractions At Night
My son is distracted by almost everything I give him. During his eighth birthday, I got him a phone. He uses the phone for music. When he doesn’t have the phone, he is distracted by something else such as alarm clock light or noises inside the house. To ensure he is restful enough to sleep, I ensure there are no distractions in his room.
Light is very distracting for children with autism; even the smallest ray of light can distract your child. When my son goes to sleep, I ensure his room is completely dark. I have hung dark and heavy curtains and his bedroom door does not face his bed. When he cannot sleep because of noises in the neighborhood, I play him relaxing music.
I Use Weighted Blankets
I attended a group therapy session for parents with autistic children when my son was five. One of the parents mentioned that she uses weighted blankets to help her son sleep better. It didn’t make sense to me at first because I couldn’t figure out how weight at night can help better sleep. I bought the blankets anyway and I haven’t regretted at all.
Weighted blankets are warm; not uncomfortably hot. They help my son settle in bed giving him the effect of a hug. These blankets have never disappointed.
I Created A Bedtime Routine
When my son was first diagnosed, he would barely sleep. He would be off to bed and asleep by 9PM but an hour later, he would be up. He would stay up for many hours then sleep towards morning. I thought it was okay to let him sleep whenever he felt like but that made it impossible for him to sleep when others are sleeping.
I created a simple routine that he has to follow every day. I make sure he is in bed at 9PM and he is up by 7AM the following day. I follow this routine strictly. He is now used to the routine and his circadian rhythm is following suit.
He Still Sees A Therapist
I am sure I understand my son more than any therapist. I stopped seeing a therapist when Eddy was five but them his aggression came back and I had to see a therapist. Therapy has helped him shun some of his behaviors that interfere with his sleep pattern. I also join other mothers who have children with ASD and together we share ideas.