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How To Get A Child With Autism To Sleep Alone

A mother tucks her young child into bed.

Written by: Joshua Sleeper

Autism and Sleep Problems

If your child won’t sleep alone, it can take a toll on your entire family. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy can help individuals with autism gain important new skills, like falling asleep in their own bed. If your child is experiencing sleep issues, they may need an ABA assessment to determine the best solution. However, there are a few things you can try to help your child fall asleep on their own.

Tips for Helping Children With Autism Sleep By Themselves

Control Environmental Factors

The environment is important to helping your child understand when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to get out of bed. Consider the environmental changes that will cue your child that it’s time to sleep – a dark room, white noise, the right temperature and consistent routines that focus on sleeping in their own bed. These changes can make a big difference in encouraging your child to sleep in their own spot. For more information on creating a positive sleep space for your child, read our article on helping children with autism sleep.

Start Small

If your child isn’t used to falling asleep by themselves, they’ll need gradual changes to help them adjust. For example, if your child is used to you laying in bed with him as he falls asleep, sit on his bed instead. Then, move to a chair right next to the bed. As he gets more comfortable, continue to move the chair further from the bed until you are at the door.

Create Bedtime Passes & Rewards

Your child may need some motivation to sleep in their own room. To encourage this and ease their anxiety, create “bedtime passes.” Your child can use the pass when they need an extra visit from you. Reassure your child that they’ll get a new pass each night, but if they can get through the night without using the pass, they’ll earn a reward, like a special activity.

ABA Therapy For Sleep Issues

If your family is struggling with sleep issues, Trumpet can help. Our team of experienced ABA therapists will conduct several assessments to understand the function, or root cause, of your child’s sleep issues. By understanding why your child has trouble falling asleep alone, your therapy team can create a customized plan to help them overcome the issue and get the restful sleep they need.

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