Children with Aspergers deal with many issues. Last week I talked about Sensory Issues and an area that is directly affected by these issues is the quality and quantity of sleep a child with Aspergers gets.
Medical studies indicate that sleep disorders are more common among children with Aspergers as opposed to their typically-developing peers and that children with Aspergers have a more challenging time both falling asleep and waking up. With these inherent difficulties, it is even more important to make sleep a priority for both the child and parent.
Here are just a few of the ways sleep helps:
Happier Mom- The amount of sleep I get is directly proportional to the amount of stress I can cope with as I parent two special needs children. There are times when I think staying up late to watch a movie or surf the web is great stress relief, but I always pay for it the next day. I am more easily irritated by my children’s issues and much less patient with them.
Increased Tolerance Level- The sensory issues associated with Aspergers make every day life difficult, but with a good night’s sleep my children’s tolerance level for dealing with these issues is increased. They are less sensitive to noise, temperature and other sensory input and they are better able to cope when something does bother them. They are also less likely to fixate on a particular problem.
Fewer Melt Downs- As a result of my children’s increased tolerance level, I see a dramatic decrease in the amount of melt downs my children experience when they are well rested. Lack of sleep equals a day filled with temper tantrums and frustration for the entire family.
There are days when circumstances result in less sleep for my children. When that happens we adjust our expectations for the day (It’s not a good day to teach a new math topic for example or to address minor discipline issues.) and we try to go to bed early that evening.
Next week I’ll share with you some ways we get a better night’s sleep.
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