You’ve tried all the tricks and training methods, and your child on the autism spectrum still won't
sleep. If that sounds like you, it might be time to take a closer look at your child’s sleep
environment. Even if your childs bedroom seems perfectly fine, it could be hiding problems that
interfere with your childs ability to get quality sleep.
In this article, we’ll cover two common bedroom issues for children with autism and how you can
solve them through home improvements and other changes.
Working with Contractors
Before you can start remodeling your childs’ bedroom, you need to understand how to work with
contractors and avoid getting scammed. There are many trustworthy and talented general
contractors out there, but the ones who aren’t will use your inexperience to their advantage.
However, there are a few ways you can protect yourself.
● Solicit estimates: Getting quotes from contractors not only lets you price shop, but it
also demonstrates how a contractor approaches his work. If an estimate is thorough and
clearly written, you know you're working with someone who pays attention to detail. A
sloppy estimate, on the other hand, is a warning sign of sloppy workmanship.
● Get references: Don’t go off the estimate alone; confirm a contractor's credentials by
requesting references from previous clients. When contacting references, ask about
workmanship and the contractors’ professionalism.
● Check licensing and insurance: An unlicensed or uninsured contractor might quote
the cheapest price, but the risk is never worth it. If your general contractor lacks
insurance and someone gets hurt or your home is damaged, you’re on the hook for
covering the cost of injuries and damages.
Managing Allergies in the Bedroom
When parents think of allergens, their minds usually go to the dinner table or the outdoors.
However, the home can be a source of allergens too. That’s a big problem for kids with autism,
who have food, skin, and respiratory allergies at higher rates than neurotypical children.
Sleep disturbances related to allergies are hard to pinpoint. Your child may not understand why
his sheets make his skin itchy or he has trouble breathing at night. Thankfully, such problems
are easy to solve even if they’re hard to diagnose.
● Install high-quality HVAC air filters in your home. A higher MERV rating, which you can
find on filters from companies like Aprilaire, indicates better pollutant filtering.
● Use an air purifier in your childs’ bedroom.
● Replace traditional carpeting with non-toxic carpeting or hard flooring.
● Use fragrance-free laundry detergents and fabric softeners to wash bedding.
● Don’t use air fresheners or conventional cleaning products in your childs bedroom; opt
for natural air fresheners and cleaners instead.
Stopping Nighttime Wandering
Some children simply won’t stay in their bedroom at night. As tempting as it is to lock the door,
it's not safe. If you’re concerned about your child wandering out of the house, a better approach
is installing security measures in the home. Consider an outdoor security camera that sends
push notifications when movement is sensed. Read reviews to find the outdoor cameras with
the best night vision capabilities and other features you need. Other security features to
consider are door and window alarms, child-proof door handles on off-limits rooms, and anchors
to secure furniture for children who climb.
As for keeping your child in bed at night, try these strategies:
● Install Dutch doors and secure the bottom half at night.
● Use a weighted blanket or compression sheet to calm nighttime restlessness.
● Minimize stimulation when your child wakes up at night by using a nightlight that turns
off, buying blackout window treatments, and installing soundproofing.
Raising a child who won’t sleep is frustrating. Not only does it lead to behavioral challenges in
children with autism, but it also makes it harder for parents and siblings to get the quality rest
they need. If you want to solve your childs sleep problems long-term, it’s not enough to address
the symptoms of sleep problems. Rather, you need to figure out what’s interfering with your
childs’ sleep and solve it once and for all.