Sleep problems are a common concern for parents of all children. In fact, up to 50% of neurotypical children experience sleep difficulties, such as resistance to going to bed, waking often or for long periods overnight, or difficulty waking in the morning.1
However, these sleep concerns are experienced by up to 80% of Autistic children.2
Resolving sleep difficulties is important, as sleep is a critical component of our health and quality of life. Amongst Autistic children, research indicates that poor sleep is associated with significant behavioural impacts, such as higher aggression, inattention and risky behaviour.3
Poor sleep not only impacts the child, but can also impact the whole family. In fact, parents of neurodivergent children report poorer sleep than parents of neurotypical children.4 Improving sleep can not only benefit the child, but the rest of the household as well!
Before beginning any changes to your child’s sleep routine or bedroom setting, it is critical to rule out any medical reasons for your child’s sleep issues. A medical professional, such as a General Practitioner, Pediatrician or Sleep Physician will be able to review these concerns with you and provide any further advice required.
Once any medical causes for your child’s sleep concerns have been ruled out, you may like to consider improving your child’s sleep hygiene. “Sleep hygiene” refers to the good sleep habits your child has in place throughout the day and evening before sleep. These include:
If your child continues to have sleep difficulties, reach out to a Sleep Physician or behavioural sleep specialist for more help. A qualified, trusted professional can provide further individualised advice on how to support your child to sleep better.
Disclaimer: The advice in this article is general in nature. If your child experiences sleep difficulties, reach out to a trusted professional for further individualised advice and support.
Super Kids acknowledges each individual’s personal preference to use identity-first or person-first language to describe themselves or their loved one. We interchangeably use both language conventions and therefore refer to both autistic children and children with autism.