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Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child: While I’m not sure the techniques in this book are necessarily designed to help kids with autism, the foundation behind Marc Weissbluth’s ‘sleep begets sleep’ approach will certainly give you a nudge in the right direction and help you understand why you should prioritize your child’s sleep and opt for an earlier bedtime wherever possible.
Blackout Blinds: While blackout blinds are typically used to block out sunlight for younger children who are still napping, they can make a world of difference for kids who are overly sensitive to visual stimuli and find it difficult to sleep with even the smallest hint of light in their room. They offer a great tool to help your child sleep later in the mornings and/or if they are struggling to fall asleep when it’s still light outside on long summer days.
White Noise Machine: If your child is sensitive to sounds, a white noise machine will help drown out other noises in your home so you don’t need to creep around when your little one is sleeping.
Weighted Blankets: The deep pressure and sensory input offered by weighted blankets triggers the release of serotonin, which in turn leads to the production of melatonin – the hormone that helps us get a restful night of sleep. There are certain guidelines you must follow when ordering a weighted blanket, which you can read here, and blankets of any kind shouldn’t be used until a child is over 12 months of age.
OK to Wake!: This alarm clock and night light provides a fun way for children to learn when it is – and isn’t! – time to wake up and adds a bit of fun to the nighttime routine!
Hire a Sleep Coach: I have had positive experiences with Nicole Johnson from The Baby Sleep Site. She helped me after many (many!) rounds of failed sleep training with my daughter, helped with the transition from 2 naps to one, and then from one nap to no naps, and helped once more when my daughter struggled with nighttime separation anxiety after transitioning to full-day kindergarten. Her personalized sleep packages are affordable and she offers email support, which is perfect for busy parents who find it difficult to connect via phone or Skype.
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