My child has autism. Who can help me with his sleep?
Many children with autism have a team of people including occupational therapists, behavior therapists, and speech therapists. All of the people on a child’s team can play a role in helping with sleep. Most families have a person who “gets their child” and is helping them with other aspects of the child’s treatment. That person can likely help with sleep too. They can incorporate empirically based sleep strategies (such as graduated extinction or a bedtime routine) into their own treatments. For example, a speech therapist can help develop tools to communicate the elements of the bedtime routine to the child, and an occupational therapist can help make certain steps of the routine easier for you and your child. Finally, your child’s behavior therapist will have expertise in helping you to help your child learn to do the routine by adding motivating rewards and reinforcement tools.
Additionally, your child’s developmental pediatrician or general pediatrician will be able to discuss medical problems that impact sleep, such as eczema or reflux, as well as possible sleep medications. They can also screen for sleep disorders that disrupt sleep such as obstructive sleep apnea.
About Dr. Melisa Moore