How to set up a sensory friendly sleep room for autistic kids

| January 11, 2013 | 0 Comments

Sensory disorders can come in a variety of severity levels.  Some autistic kids may react to lights and colors while others have reactions to specific sounds and noises.

Many children with Autism have issues with things that touch them, like a tag on clothes or even if their sock folds under their feet in their shoes.  Because of this, a room that most people may be able to sleep in can be a nightmare for kids with sensory disorders and/or Autism.  Here are a few things that you can do to create an autism and Sensory Disorder friendly, sleep environment.

Visual disorders

Unlike most people who sleep well in a dark room, children with Autism or Sensory Disorders may not be able to relax in the dark, or even with a regular nightlight.  Regular nightlites can end up becoming a distracting focus point or something that sets off their disorder.  Others may not be able to sleep in complete darkness, that’s why products like the Twilight turtle or projection night lights and lamps are good.  Soothing motion lamps, especially ones that have scents and relaxing sounds, can also be helpful for visual disorders in a bedroom.  These types of products can sooth kids by displaying constellations and stars, or slow and fluid movements which may help children to not stay focused on any one point, but to relax and fall asleep.

Touch disorders

This can be tricky.  If your kids have a friend who is sensitive to touch spending the night and they need pajamas, try to find a pair of kids pajamas that don’t have any tags on them.  The tag might not effect your kid while he or she is sleeping, but when someone who has a sensory disorder that makes them hyper-sensitive wears them, it can feel like a cat scratching at them all night long.  Many companies now provide kids pajamas with tags printed or silk screened on.  This can make a huge difference for the child with autism or a sensory disorder.  If you know your child’s friend has a Sensory Disorder and may be sleeping over, you may want to have a pair of tagless and if possible seamless pajamas just in case.  You’ll also want to double check the bed or sleeping back for tags and make sure you have a sheet without any rough edges on top of it. Taking simple precautions like these can help to ensure that the child is well rested the following morning.

Hearing disorders

If you think about a horror movie where everything is quiet and then all of the sudden the monster jumps out and you hear the giant, loud sound effect that makes you scream, that is what normal noises, especially at night in a dark can be like for someone who suffers from hearing sensory disorders. Noises like footsteps from an apartment above you, cars outside or even just normal talking and the TV in another room can keep them awake for hours.  Although some noises may make it harder to get to sleep, you can try to drown them out with meditation CD’s, sleep CD’s for kids with calming noises like the ocean or even try combining these techniques with calming scents like vanilla.  Drowning out normal sounds with a noise that can calm someone down with hearing sensory issues can mean the difference between a good night’s sleep and having them suffer through the night.

Sensory disorders don’t always seem like they can be real, but most of us have had nights where we couldn’t sleep because of something small that just wouldn’t stop bugging us.  Imagine if that happened to you every night.  That can be what a child with a sensory disorder goes through every day.  There are a variety of products that can make an entire world of difference in your child’s life, including lamps, meditation CD’s and relaxing scents.  You can also try weighted blankets so they feel like they are wrapped up and safe in a hug all night and even combinations of scented products with motion lamps and sound projectors.  Try to figure out what helps calm your child, and then look for products that feature similar noises or light patterns and you’ll eventually find a combination that will help your child to fall and stay asleep easier at night.

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Category: Natural Sleep Aids

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