Columbus, OH -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/01/2014 -- In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, The Baby Sleep Site® is drawing attention to the ways that Autism Spectrum (ASD) and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) impact a child’s sleep.
The Baby Sleep Site® sleep consultant, Sarah Wiescamp, a former special-education teacher and early intervention specialist with years of experience working with children with ASD and SPD, offers her insights as to how and why these diagnoses impact sleep, as well as her tips on how parents of children with ASD and SPD can work to promote better sleep for their little ones.
It is estimated that over 50% of children diagnosed with ASD and/or SPD will experience sleep problems. Specifically, children with ASD and/or SPD tend to have trouble falling asleep at bedtime, and staying asleep throughout the night. As Wiescamp points out, “This is due to irregular circadian rhythms and sleep/wake cycles - and those are sometimes due to abnormal melatonin regulation.” Wiescamp also explains that children with ASD and/or SPD are also more prone to seizures, reflux problems, night terrors, and sleep apnea, which all contribute to sleep issues.
Sensory issues also affect falling asleep and staying asleep, says Wiescamp. “Children with SPD tend to be hypersensitive to visual and audio stimuli,” explains Wiescamp. “Excess noise, bright lights, scratchy bedding - all of these can become big barriers to sleep for children with SPD.”
Wiescamp is also quick to emphasize, though, that parents can do a lot to help children with ASD and/or SPD sleep better. According to Wiescamp, parents can accomplish this by:
-...creating a strong bedtime routine.
-...ensuring that bedtime happens at the same time each night.
-...counting down to bedtime, in order to help the child wind down and to understand that sleep is approaching.
-...creating a soothing sleep environment, by utilizing room-darkening shades, carpet to muffle noise, etc.
-...remaining in the room until their child falls asleep (although Wiescamp acknowledges that this is not possible for every family.)
Of course, some parents find that they are not able to overcome their children’s sleep challenges alone - but they may not know where to turn. “Parents of children with ASD or SPD may feel like they can’t turn to a sleep consultant for help because their child’s diagnosis makes the sleep situation unique,” explains Wiescamp. “Fortunately, I am able to offer my expertise as a trained sleep consultant alongside my expertise in working with children with ASD and SPD, and offer sleep help that utilizes ASD best practices and current research.” In this way, emphasizes Wiescamp, she is able to “bridge the gap” for parents of children with ASD and SPD, and provide personalized sleep help that accounts for the child’s unique challenges.
For a limited time, in honor of Autism Awareness Month, The Baby Sleep Site® is hosting a special giveaway. One family affected by ASD and/or SPD will win a free sleep consultation package, and the chance to work one-on-one with Sarah to get personalized sleep help. Parents can find details about how to enter this giveaway by visiting http://www.babysleepsite.com/sleep-disorders-2/autism-sleep-interview/.
For more information about how to help babies and toddlers sleep well, visit:
Take advantage of our Spring Sale, and enjoy 20% discounts on all Baby Sleep Site® products and services! But act now; these deals won’t last long! Visit http://www.babysleepsite.com/spring-sale-2014/ for details.
About the Founder
Nicole Johnson is the President of The Baby Sleep Site®, which was founded in 2008. She began her journey to help moms cope with their babies’ sleep schedule by leading an internet-based message board. Her goal was for new parents to overcome their own sleeping challenges much quicker than she had. Following that, she created The Baby Sleep Site® (http://www.babysleepsite.com) and expanded her offerings to include e-books, articles, a blog, and customized sleep consulting. The feedback from around the world has been incredible. The Baby Sleep Site® enjoys almost 500,000 visitors per month and has personally helped almost 13,000 families overcome their babies’ sleep challenges. Nicole and her team offer professional, sound support that works.
Nicole Johnson and Sarah Wiescamp are available for interviews by phone, email and in-person. Nicole Johnson can also offer supplementary content on various parenting topics.