HELP!! My autistic 4 yr old won't stay in bed!

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HELP!! My autistic 4 yr old won't stay in bed!

Postby Mel130 » Thu Mar 24, 2005 9:20 pm

Has anyone had to deal with this? Our 4 yr old has been sleeping in a crib with a "crib tent" however, now he just rips those crib tents apart and climbs out. We can't just put him in a youth bed, he'll never stay in it. Mentally he's like a 1 yr old, so of course we can't put him in the position that he can just get up and wander around. (He can't even go up and down steps by himself yet! ) When we try to get him to fall asleep even WITH us he just won't go to sleep! I swear he can stay awake forever! We thought about those hospital stainless steel cribs, but they are more than 5 K! Also they are not made to take into residences, just not possible. I find it hard to believe no one else has had this problem, but I sure can't find any advice on it. PLEASE HELP! Thanks! :x this is me screaming from frustration!


Postby Guest » Thu Mar 24, 2005 10:03 pm

This is a tough one. I haven't dealt with this personally, but I can tell you that several people have actually had to lock the door to their child's bedroom until the child "got it". It sounds kind of drastic, and of course you have to make sure it's 100% safe for him to be alone in his room. He will cry and there will probably be some sleepless nights for all of you, but he just can't stay awake forever. I really hate to type this, as this is not my parenting style at all, but frankly, sleep is such a big issue with me that I think I would have gone this route had Alex not stayed in his bed.
Best of luck, this too shall pass
Alex's mom

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Postby Al&Matt's Mom » Thu Mar 24, 2005 10:06 pm

My 3 year old has a safety gate on his door that is released by stepping on a pedal. He doesn't weigh enough to activate it. That allows us to leave the door open and not worry about him roaming the house.

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Postby Dana » Fri Mar 25, 2005 10:54 am

This is a little different approach, but we went through the same problem of having a child that had trouble falling asleep, and once asleep it wouldn't last long and he would go sit on the living room couch. We began giving him a half dose of melatonin so he would be able to fall asleep on his own and in his own bed. The plus is that he would be able to sleep through the night, so no more wandering. He eventually learned to associate his bed with dark, night and sleep. He no longer takes a melatonin and he now puts himself to bed and sleeps through the night, he also will stay in his room if he wakes too early.

Safety-wise, we also had to put up a gate in the begining and that seemed to be enough. We used a dog gate, same as a child safety gate, just a lot taller. Classical music helps with the falling asleep and a fan during the night may help block out external noise and help keep from waking.

Also, my son likes it pitch black in his room, night lights keep him awake, took me a while to put that one together :oops:

Best of Luck and I hope you are able to find a solution soon without spending a small fortune on a special bed.



b's mom
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Postby b's mom » Fri Mar 25, 2005 12:22 pm

We had the same problem years ago, my son is now close to 8. We went the route of just letting him sleep with mom and dad or his sister. He still likes to sleep with his sis.

I think my son's problem is sensory. He wants that warmth and also the safety of someone near him. Safety has turned out to be a real issue for him so I'm grateful we let him sleep with us without a fuss at a time we didn't even know he has asperger's.

We got a dog a couple years ago and I thought that would be the answer -just have the pup sleep with him. Well, it could have been awesome if the dog didn't think carpet was just like grass and therefore the entire carpeted upstairs was a huge potty ground. :shock:

I know they tell you to get your child to sleep in their own bed.... bla bla bla... but our kids are different and we have already turned to diet and other things that are not so conventional. If you feel comfortable, give it a go or think about other comforts for sensory issues.


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Postby becky » Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:56 pm

It's true, it will get better. It hasn't exactly gone away for us, but now that our son is 5 1/2, it has improved.

A heavy quilt helped, and letting him sleep with me also works, we're to the stage now that when we're having a tough night his older brother will go sleep on the top bunk of our ASD son's bunk bed. He likes that, or sleeping on the floor of his brother's room.

Funny - we also went the puppy route....we put the crate in our son's room when we were training the puppy, but our son decided that Bane needed covers, and Bane chewed through all of the blankets that were placed on top of the crate! Not the end of the world, but it couldn't continue or we would have run out of blankets without holes in them!

I've heard great things about melatonin. We have yet to use it, but it is an option we were and are willing to try yet if needed.

He startles us a lot when he decides he's done sleeping - he's just all of a sudden in front of you. And at least once a week I know he's been up in the night "organizing" his room. We've had animals and books lined up across the floor more than once.

Good luck!

Elis mom
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my kids have had the same problems

Postby Elis mom » Fri Mar 25, 2005 8:39 pm

Last edited by Elis mom on Tue Apr 04, 2006 12:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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How about Duct Tape???

Postby Kristal » Sun Mar 27, 2005 3:12 am

Ok, not really. But believe me there were times in the past where I felt like it. Forgive me if I don't know this information... have you tried the gfcf diet yet? If you have, are you supplimenting with calcium? My son started sleeping terrible after starting the diet.. We found out later, that a shortage of calcium can effect sleep. Once we starting giving him Kirkman's calcium powder, he started sleeping much better again..


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Postby mouseker » Mon Mar 28, 2005 2:47 am

If he is getting OT ask if there are some things you can do at night to see if the sleeping issue is a sensory problem. The Wilbarger Brushing Protocol or a weighted blanket or massage to name a few. Or like the other poster said it could be an imbalance in something I know that sodium can also affect our awareness states. Sometimes it is trial and error and other times you just go ahead and get the melatonin. I hope you find your solution.


Postby Guest » Thu Mar 31, 2005 8:47 pm

I just came upon this site and this is my first post. For my son we use
a combination of things for him to sleep. By the way he is 4 as well.
First we bought a small bed and gave him giant stuffed animals that
he could cuddle with. We do have a lock on the door,otherwise he would
run out. We have a monitor to listen in on him and finally the thing he
enjoys the most is having his own tv to watch a show or movie which
he settles down to. He also has a weighted blanket. If you are worried
about the TV being to loud,you can install it with a bracket high up.
We are lucky in that we do not have to keep it high. He still does not
like to go to bed but he accepts it.


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Postby Dana » Fri Apr 01, 2005 10:30 am

I must confess, we too have a tv in our sones room. It is one with the vcr built right in, there is no cable hook up so he can only watch his video collection. At night I but out a basket of videos that are calming, like baby mozart, tapes with lullabies, etc.. The tv turns off automatically at the end of the video but he usually is passed out before that.

The weighted blanket also has helped with getting him to just lay down and stay in bed. I guess that is why so many of us recommend them :wink:

We also just bought one of those machines that plays different sounds, heartbeat, waves, crickets, whales, white noise....he REALLY likes it and they are inexpensive.




Postby chilliwackmom » Sun Apr 03, 2005 3:14 am

What we do to have our son stay in his room is there's an alarm on his door. Won't work for every kid of course, but he absolutely HATES the noise, and will not open his bedroom door when it's closed, in case the alarm is on. And we have the security of knowing he's not up and about, because we'll hear it if that door opens!

We just got a little alarm at a hardware store, and used velcro tape to stick it up. It's great because we can take it with us when we travel. Takes itty bitty batteries (the little flat round kind), but they last forever. Has an "on" position and "off" position.

Doesn't help him sleep any, but gives us some piece of mind, and he'll just play in his room in the morning until we get up to take him to the bathroom :) If your son is noise-sensitive it might help.


Postby Guest » Fri Oct 14, 2005 9:06 am

Just moving a good post back up.....

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Re: HELP!! My autistic 4 yr old won't stay in bed!

Postby victoriad4176 » Tue May 02, 2017 1:06 pm

please can everyone read this! Look up NON 24.
It normally affects blind people, but has been found in sighted people and autistic people . Hope this helps everyone, with autistic children with Major sleep problems, victorad4176

raun cesar
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Re: HELP!! My autistic 4 yr old won't stay in bed!

Postby raun cesar » Wed May 03, 2017 7:52 am

Sorry to hear about him, bur medically you can't stay awake for a long time. Sleep will naturally come, there are some great advice in the thread let him wander to fall asleep Good Luck

Ben DiBanana
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Re: HELP!! My autistic 4 yr old won't stay in bed!

Postby Ben DiBanana » Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:40 pm

Try Melatonin in chewy gummy form. Did the trick at our house. Pediatrician said it was fine to give him. We are gradually tapering the dose now that he is a little older but it was a total lifesaver back when we started it.

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Re: HELP!! My autistic 4 yr old won't stay in bed!

Postby JBTX » Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:39 pm

Our son is 13 but we have always struggled to get him to stay in his room. Years ago the following combination seemed to work pretty well.

1. Get a quite electric fan with multiple speeds. The cool breeze helps keep him comfortable and the white noise is soothing
2. Got him night light. Something "cool" looking like a projection of planets on the ceiling.
3. Chewable melatonin. It does work. 1mg was sufficient. Melatonin does help you get to sleep but not necessarily stay asleep.

Also somebody recommended to our teenage daughter " Kaviance Ultra Pm" it is supplement that has melatonin and other ingredients. It does work but isn't cheap and no idea if appropriate for 4 year olds.

Many years ago my nephew would do the same thing. He isn't autistic but has other issues. They actually reversed the door knob to keep him from getting out.

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