Should Children With Autism Be Permitted To Sleep In Parents' Bed So That The Family Can Get A Good Night's Sleep?

Question: Should children with autism be permitted to sleep in parents' bed indefinitely so that the family can get a good night's sleep?

Answer: Many children with autism have difficulty sleeping, either getting to sleep or staying asleep. And that certainly can have its toll on parents and on family life as well if everybody's exhausted. I think the best strategy in working with sleep difficulties is to get some consultation from a sleep specialist who's also familiar with autism and who can help parents with sleep hygiene.

There are lots of things that parents can do at home to set up the environment to make it more conducive to sleep for their child from decreasing stimulating activities when it gets toward bedtime to having specific strategies for if and when the child gets out of bed or calls for them during the night.

So, I think it's critical that these strategies be addressed so that the child can learn to be independent in sleeping habits as well as any other daily routines.