Last week, we wrote on Autism Awareness. For the second part of this series and the end of Autism Awareness Month, we interviewed our newest Wicked Sheets team member, Maureen! She manages inventory and warehouse operations and is also the Mom to a sweet kid on the Autism spectrum. We asked her some questions about the importance of sleep and restfulness.
1. Describe the importance of sleep for both your child and yourself.
In terms of sleep importance for him, it helps with his patience and compliance. For me, it helps with my patience. I went twelve years without a solid night’s sleep. I didn’t realize it until he started having seizures. While on medication for the seizures, I realized he slept the entire night. So did I. For him, if he doesn’t have a good night’s sleep he’ll sleep at school – no way to cajole him into working if he’s exhausted.
2. Do you have any sleep habits or routines you use with your kid?
Routines? Oh, yes. At 8:30 p.m. per the timer on my phone, he takes his bedtime medications that include natural sleep aids. I give him the option of a shower or bath, though I try to encourage the bath. In his bath go Epsom salts, baking soda, and lavender oil. All of these calm and help him fall asleep more quickly. There is a Christmas tree light in his bedroom that he loves to turn on. He’s always loved Bear in the Big Blue House and we watch their Goodnight song before we’ll usually read a chapter or two from a book. Scratches on his arm or leg and a kiss goodnight and he’s off to sleep!
For parents with kids who fight sleep, I know of a trick that works for us. A few years ago, I went to a meeting and learned about the ‘token economy.’ Before this method, he’d come crawl in my bed almost nightly. However, with the method I learned, I’d let him have the computer before school if he’d stay in his own bed at night. When he was getting in bed with me, it wasn’t a one time ordeal. He’d come get in mine, I’d walk him back to his. We’d repeat. Looking for alternative and helpful measure to assure sleep are vital.
A friend of mine with twin boys on the spectrum say their kids play musical beds almost nightly. The token method has saved my life!
3. Have you guys ever had night sweats? Does he overheat at night?
He’s a warm young man, so I tend to keep the house cool so he’ll sleep better. The boy sweats in January!
Traits of those on the Autism spectrum often are similar. However, one quote we take to heart is — “When you’ve met one child with Autism, you’ve met one child with Autism.”