Issue 34 – Autism Sleep, Bedtime and Hygiene Routines
Welcome to our special edition of Autism Parenting Magazine EXTRA. As you know, we aim to publish the most up-to-date news, research and professional guidance written by noted medical professionals, coaches, occupational therapists, parents and adults on the spectrum on a monthly basis. Since we like to keep abreast of the latest challenges and triumphs families with child on the spectrum experience, we try to produce a few extra issues within the year that focus on a particular topic. Just like our monthly magazine, we try to keep these editions at a minimal cost for our readers. Please note, issues of Autism Parenting Magazine EXTRA are sold individually and are not part of a subscription.
We all know life can be challenging, especially when balancing the needs of our children on the spectrum. Sometimes, it seems to take every ounce of energy to make it to “The End of the Day,” a time that should be reserved for parents to unwind and reenergize. Unfortunately, for some, the end of the day doesn’t provide nighttime bliss, rather it brings its own set of hurdles. From the battle to survive daily hygiene routines to actually getting a child to fall asleep (and stay asleep), it can feel like you missed time to unwind.
That’s why we are especially thrilled to offer this exceptional lineup of articles in this special issue. According to SujayKansagra, M.D., Director of the Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program at Duke University, studies indicate up to 80% of children with autism have some sort of sleep difficulties. In his article, “Helping Your Child with Autism Sleep: An Overview of Sleep Hygiene and Behavioral Strategies,” Kansagra provides parents with advice on creating routines and schedules as well as essential behavioral tactics.
We also reached out for bedtime advice from Sarah Kupferschmidt, MA, BCBA, who believes the ability to fall to sleep, just like many behaviors, is a skill that can be learned. Her article, “4 Tips for Finding the Right Bedtime Routine,” focuses on strategies to help children on the spectrum wind down at the end of the day and fall asleep. Part of that bedtime process includes the need for good hygiene practices. Be sure to read a piece called “Practicing Good Hygiene and Self-Care for Life” by Angelina M., MS, BCBA, MFTI, who provides first-rate guidance including visual tools to help children practice basic self-care/hygiene skills.
We are also happy to be able to share a video clip within this issue of the Dr. G Aspie Show where host Dr. Frank Gaskill interviews Southeast Psych’s Dr. Melissa Miller about why Aspies might be prone to sleep problems. Miller provides some excellent tips that everyone could use to sleep better.
Another interesting aspect to consider when trying to get a child to sleep is bedroom space. We asked Licensed Interior Designer Carolyn Feder, TBAE TAID, to share her advice for creating a calming bedroom space for children on the spectrum through the use of color, texture and furniture placement.
Many parents have also voiced the challenge of finding larger-sized diaper products (to include pull-ups and youth pants) for children on the spectrum. Not only is it expensive to continue to purchase these products, but the larger sizes are often hard to find. We have put together an article with information about the financial assistance available to some families with children on the spectrum, from Medicare to private insurance, as well as a buying guide to finding the right product at a good price.
Sometimes, when faced with long days and what seems like even longer nights, parents and caregivers of children on the spectrum don’t feel they ever have the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate. That’s why we asked Deanna Picon, the founder of Your Autism Coach, LLC, to provide advice for overworked parents on how to reenergize. Her article, “Shed the Stress: Seven Ways To ‘Spring Clean’ Your Life,” is sure to inspire.
We hope our EXTRA issue will help to make a difference in your family’s life.
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Amy KD Tobik
Issue 34 Features
- Helping Your Child with Autism Sleep: An Overview of Sleep Hygiene and Behavioral Strategies by Sujay Kansagra, M.D.
- Dr. G Aspie Show – Practical Tips for Combating Sleep Problems with Asperger Kids by Frank Gaskill
- Practicing Good Hygiene and Self-Care for Life by Angelina M., MS, BCBA, MFTI
- 4 Tips for Finding the Right Bedtime Routine by Sarah Kupferschmidt, MA, BCBA
- Innovative Ways to Create a Peaceful and Calming Bedroom Space by Carolyn Feder, TBAE TAID
- The Calming Effects of Essential Oils by Courtney Barnum
- Shed the Stress: Seven Ways To ‘Spring Clean’ Your Life by Deanna Picon
- Finding Well-Priced Big Kid Diaper Protection that Fits by Amy KD Tobik