Children With Autism: Habits for a Good Sleep

Children within the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more vulnerable to sleep disturbances. According to research, 44 to 83% of people with autism have sleep-related problems. These disorders adversely affect the behavior and emotional well-being of the child and the family by increasing the frequency of temper tantrums, irritability, and stress.

That is why it is important to help children learn and maintain good sleep habits. Here we offer you some advice on how to accomplish this.

 

Problematic sleep habits

 

Regular sleep cycles are influenced by daily routines, and children with ASD sometimes have trouble understanding and following them. Sometimes, they might get attached to unusual sleep habits and have trouble fitting into the regular family routine.

So the first thing you need to do is working on your child’s understanding of routines in general.

 

Bedtime routines for children within the autism spectrum disorder

 

  • Use a schedule and visual aids showing the bedtime routine, so your child can understand every step.
  • Praise your child for understanding and completing each step.
  • Put a sticker on the schedule every time your child completes a step correctly. This can help children see the situation as a game and will motivate them to follow the routine.

 

Appropriate bedtimes for children with ASD

 

Having an appropriate bedtime is essential for establishing a good routine. But, as we all know, children may have some trouble adapting to it, and it can be even harder for those within the spectrum. Here are a couple of things you can do to help them adopt good sleep habits:

  • It is convenient to create a short and simple bedtime routine. Structured activities help children with autism calm down, anticipate what is going to happen next, and think about what they need to do. So, we should create a simple routine consisting of 4 or 5 steps that need to be carried out before going to bed. Something like this, for example:

1-. Brush your teeth.

2-. Drink water.

3-. Read a story in bed.

4-. Turn off the light.

5-. Go to sleep.

  • Avoid highly stimulating activities at least two hours before bedtime. Limit things like watching TV or playing videogames, and try to propose relaxing activities, such as reading, listening to classical music, and taking a hot bath.
  • Adapt the stimulating conditions to the child’s needs. Some children with autism are extremely sensitive to things like light, sound, and touch. This hypersensitivity can interfere with their sleep, so we must regulate the light entering their room and avoid making loud noises.

It is all about finding the right information and tools to learn what to do. Remember, you must be patient and understanding throughout this whole process, adopting new habits can be a difficult task for your child.

Source: https://raisingchildren.net.au/autism/health-daily-care/sleep/sleep-for-children-with-asd

A good sleep and rest can do wonderful things for a child with autism.

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Siblings of Children with ASD: What Are Their Challenges and Benefits

Siblings of a child with ASD can result in tough experiences, but at the same time can give them enriching life, they can grow up as a compassionate, independent and more tolerant person. Those kids will be able to understand better difficult situations, and they can be exactly what a person autism needs to develop their abilities and skills.

Explaining ASD to the siblings

The most important part of a good cohabitation between them will be explications. As parents, take time to talk with your typically developing children and make them try to understand what are the limitations of their sibling, how they can interact and play with them, and that ASD in their sibling isn’t their fault.

Remember that the explication will depend on the age of your typically developing children, a five-year-old can think that the ASD is the reason behind why a sibling can play as he or she do, but a 16-year-old can comprehend that a sibling with ASD will face many challenges and his or her role will be to support and be there.

Bad feelings

Typically developing children can be understanding and treat their siblings as the most precious thing that will appear in their lives, but bad feelings are normal between all siblings.

  • Jealousy: your children can start to feel jealous of the amount of time that you dedicate to your autistic child, so try to create family activities that include all the members, and also time alone with your typically children, because they need you and sharing time with them is precious.

  • Playing time: kids into the spectrum will need different games to play, but even when they are paying the same and regular game, sometime they will feel discouraged because a brother or sister doesn’t play the way they want. It would be good if you can find a sport or activity that can make them play together without worries.

  • Angry: they can show angry when they see that their autistic sibling get out with house chores and other responsibilities at home; also they can feel angry when someone is bullying their siblings or making fun of them in a family trip. You must teach them that it is a bad way to face these situations.

  • Protection: for typically children it would be normal to overprotect their brother or sister with ASD, it doesn’t matter what are their feelings towards them, they are their siblings, they are their family, protection and loyalty will be important. But sometimes can be a little too much, talk with them and explain how they can help them without suffocating them.

  • Stress: children with autistic siblings can feel pressure and stress, because of their routines, school and family interactions. They can even feel your own stress levels and think that you can finish with a divorce or are fighting constantly, so try to assure your kids that it is tough but everything is fine, and love is important in the family.

Making time for them

Try to spend all the time that you can with them, they will try to help in everything that they can, and that deserve a reward, because knowing what you as parents and their siblings with ASD are facing, they will try to put aside their own problems and concerns.

  • Create, in the family schedule, little times during the day to spend with them, maybe at lunchtime speak with them or make them help you with the preparation, read to them at bedtime or set one hour dedicated to homework, that way you assured to share time with them.

  • Always listen to what they want to talk with you; maybe it is a small thing to tell, but for them, it can be a huge thing and they will feel that for you they are important too.

  • Try to coordinate the same activity for both of your children. Like a picnic in the park, a trip to the beach, a visit to the museum or aquarium, or a simple a sport that both can enjoy. You will create a major bond between and with them.

  • Make an activity with he or her at least once a month; it can be just one parent and the child or both parents and the child. For that, you will need the help of your family or friends, but it can be very simple to achieve. Forming a bond with the child is important.

At the end it doesn’t matter the amount of time that you spend with your child; the important thing will be to make them feel care and appreciated, that way they can have a better understanding of the situation that you as parents are dealing with, and all the challenges that their sibling is facing. Come to Autism Soccer to learn more about our programs where your children can feel cherish and happy!

love and siblings

Make your children love each other no matter what.

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How to Educate a Neurotypical Sibling?

No one prepared the parents of children with autism, nobody noticed or warned that the arrival of a child with ASD could be possible. So the education to raise our child with autism and our neurotypical child at the same time has been learned, after overcoming frustrations, book readings, training, patience, and a lot of creativity.

One of the most complex issues that parents face when it comes to educating children is to decide which pedagogical project or which educational line to choose. And things get even more complicated when you have to educate more than one child because the surprise is that there are no two children alike, and they never respond in the same way to the methods that already worked successfully in previous cases.

What to do when there’s a neurotypical sibling?

Imagine then what happens when one of the brothers requires somewhat peculiar educational methods. Educational methods that can’t be learned either from one’s own experience, from reflection during pregnancy, or from reading the books of preparation to be perfect parents of programmable children to respond accurately to each of the options.

In the case that a child with autism has neurotypical siblings, the situation may show clear divergences in the treatment given to the children. So, the question that parents should ask is: what to do when my child with autism needs certain strategies to learn but also does my neurotypical child?

How to integrate neurotypical and ASD children

When you have more than one child, and one of them has autism, there are two possible cases: the neurotypical being the firstborn or the child with autism being the firstborn. Let’s see:

  • If the first child has autism, and the parents have set to work, the second child arrives at a home where the pictograms and social stories are the order of the day. The second child simply learns to live like this, and in any case, it’s the parents who must re-practice a more relaxed and natural form of communication.

  • If the first child doesn’t have autism, and the parents already believe they have found the most appropriate educational method. In that case, it may become more difficult to integrate the older child into all those changes that occur in the dynamics of the family. Well for them, that looks like a great injustice. If they used to go out to any big party, why can’t they go now? If before spontaneously decided to go to the movies, to the circus, to the beach, why should we now live with an iron agenda that dictates our life?

Activities

We have to become accustomed to the normal jealousy of the children, to the competitiveness between brothers; but we need to change life and family dynamics for the new member of the family.

In a family, all members should know that they are part of a team and that they should be helping, supporting and waiting for others, when it’s necessary. Therefore, each of the members must have their spaces of freedom, and in the family as a whole should accommodate some dynamic and integration activities:

  • Days of games at home.
  • Family pajama parties.
  • Day of cooking, where the whole family participates in making meals.
  • Conversations where one of the parents is combined with one of the children, to maintain the family agenda without losing neither the spontaneity nor the multitudinous socialization.
  • Bread a weekly routine, where they have vacations, free days, family life. Activities and family time that will help them not to lose the energy of everyone. And so it allows the siblings of children with autism to develop and feel that they are listened to and taken into account, which they need.

 

Maintaining two lines of education can often be stressful, and above all frustrating for everyone, but with love, patience, and unity everything will be easier.

While neuroatypical children take energy and time, neurotypical children also have needs that require fulfillment from their parents and caretakers.

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