Behavioral Problems Linked to Sleep Disorder in Children with ASD

It’s been estimated that 40-80% of children who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will have problems sleeping. This is a major concern as it can contribute to behavioral problems during the day. When your child isn’t sleeping well, he or she is more likely to be hyperactive, irritable, and aggressive. This puts the physical and emotional well-being of the child at risk.

If your child is not sleeping, then it means that you are not sleeping either – which is going to impact how you are dealing with your child’s behavior. If this situation sounds familiar, here are a few things you can do to try to help your child get a good night’s rest:

1. Keep a sleep diary. By keeping a daily record of the day and night, it might help you to discern if there are things that are causing a night of poor sleep.

2. Foods that are a stimulate – like sugar and caffeine – should be avoided before bedtime.

3. Entertainment that can be stimulating should also be avoided. Instead of television or computer time, try something soothing and relaxing like reading a story or a light massage. Also keep the house quiet.

4. Start a bedtime routine and stick to it.

5. If problems persist, see your child’s doctor.

A good night’s sleep is very valuable. You and your child deserve it. It may be a struggle to get it under control, but be patient. For more information, I recommend The National Autistic Society – Sleep and Autism – Helping Your Child.

Parenting a child with ASD, especially when your parenting with an ASD spouse, is no easy task. My new book “Parenting with a Spouse or Partner with Asperger Syndrome: Out of Sight, Out of Mind” addresses these issues. A free sample chapter is now available for download. Click here for more information.

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