Autism and Co-sleeping

(11 Posts)
OldMcDonald Mon 07-Jan-19 14:31:39

DS still cosleeps. All night. He's not long turned five. Just under a year ago we worked towards, and managed to succeed at, getting him to fall asleep with one of us beside him, and then stay asleep, knowing that we would leave for a couple of hours. So we now have a bit of an evening. He still wakes multiple times most evenings/nights though, even with one of us there.

I've read the Cerebra guide on sleep but I'm not prepared, at this point, to do what is needed to get him sleeping in his own bed, on his own. I think his anxiety is too high from school. He also, I think, still gets a lot from cosleeping. In addition I need a decent night to enable me to remain patient enough with him in the day, and also creative enough to deal with his behaviour tactfully. I don't think I'll get a decent night for a long time if we're in separate rooms.

Does anyone with older autistic children have any stories, positive or negative, about how cosleeping stopped? All the cosleeping stuff I read when he was a baby suggested children naturally grow out of it, and everyone always says that he won't still be cosleeping in his teens. I'm not so sure that's true now though, for my son at least.

DS is happy to sleep in his room, in his bed, but only if me or DH shares it with him.

OP’s posts: |
Justneedakindwordortwo Tue 08-Jan-19 19:21:43

Joining to hopefully see stories... I cosleep with my almost 6yr old Dd With Autism x

MsP0tatoHead Tue 08-Jan-19 21:18:28

My son has ASD and is 10 now and (usually!) goes to sleep in and stays asleep in his own bed. But tbh this is fairly recent - he co-slept until he was about 8-9. We tried to get him to stay in his own bed before this - but it ended in everyone getting stressed and very little sleep. When he was ready, it was pretty easy - I think I spent a week taking him back to his bed in the night - but he didn't get upset and it seemed the right time to do it.

So I guess my feeling is that if it works for you to cosleep now, then go with it - getting enough sleep and keeping things relaxed is more important. And he will be ready to sleep in his own bed in time - it just take a bit longer I think for our kids

OldMcDonald Wed 09-Jan-19 20:18:57

Thank you both. It's nice to hear it's not just me and that there can be a right time to encourage more independence. I think I've been very guilty of pushing DS to do things at age appropriate times when it's not actually anywhere near the right time for him. I'm currently backtracking massively with dressing and toileting in the hope everything will be more chilled and we can start being more consistent about what he does each time and then build from there. I shall leave sleep as it is then and not push that too far too!

OP’s posts: |
BlackeyedGruesome Wed 09-Jan-19 21:58:24

he could move to a bed in your room at some point when you are ready. (assuming there is room for another bed.)

ds co-slept for a while. He has his own room, but he comes and sleeps inthe same room as me sometimes, or occassionally in my bed when he needs to. (death of a grandparent triggered the latest sojourn in my room)

you are meeting his emiotional needs to sleep near you. and your physical needs. sleep is only a problem if it is a problem for you all, if your solution works, go with it. 5 is not that old. 2/3 of 5 is still aged 3, so emotionally a three year old..

zzzzz Wed 09-Jan-19 22:01:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BertieBotts Wed 09-Jan-19 22:07:44

I definitely wouldn't push it with any if the typical methods - rapid return, controlled crying etc. But I wonder if something like a (very) gradual retreat/disappearing chair would work? With these methods you find something which is similar but not quite the same as what you're doing now and do that until the child is comfortable with it, then add another step of separation and continue making tiny incremental changes until you are happy with the solution.

MumUnderTheMoon Wed 09-Jan-19 22:22:02

My dd copes best if she is really well prepared for something so I start talking about changes well in advance. If I was in your position I would be dropping casual "when you sleep in your own bed" into conversations for a few weeks and then maybe do a bit of a bedroom makeover. My dd has real ownership over her room so she wants to be there. She chose the wallpaper etc. Have you considered a bed tent to make him feel really secure in bed. The fact is that breaking the routine of an autistic person is a nightmare, you need to consider whether or not you want to be sharing a bed with him at eight or twelve for example. Might be best to bight the bullet now.

OldMcDonald Thu 10-Jan-19 15:15:10

Yes that was/is my fear: that it's the reluctance to change, not the need to be close that's causing this and that we could still be doing it when he's 12! He had his room redecorated not that long ago, to try to help things along, with as many bells and whistles as we could manage without making it overwhelming but to no avail.

It is a good point thought that emotionally he is still a very young child, despite being five chronologically.

Thanks everyone. I will chill for now and start trying to move things along in a few years if there are any signs of willing. My gut is that it's still too early for him.

OP’s posts: |
Nettleskeins Sat 12-Jan-19 17:35:32

Ds2 has HFA /Aspergers and co slept till he was 8 or 9. He went to bed in his own room (conveniently very small and cosy, with bed wedged into corner) surrounded by his favourite books and models and night sky stickers on the ceiling between 7 an 8.30 (older he was the later it became but 7 at your child's age). He loved his room and found it easy to drop off there. But every night he would hop into bed with us, and sleep peacefully till morning, no further interruptions.

So we just went with it. It worked well. It was lovely and nurturing and it seems very strange to look back on it now and think, no more! He stopped of his own accord at about 9 or 10. Much later than my other kids who stopped coming in our bed at about 6 or 7, and then only erratically.

I know lots of parents with sons who co slept till 8 or 9. It is much commoner than people will admit to. The proportion who are put to bed in their parents' beds is of course lower. Tbh it is a natural thing to want to share sleeping quarters with another human - it is a survival instinct to protect you from predators whilst you sleep, I think most people would enjoy sharing a bedroom with siblings and then the issue of the parental bed doesn't come in so much.

Nettleskeins Sat 12-Jan-19 17:38:36

other tips are hot water bottle, microwave hottie animal (The kind with beans in it) surrounding him with soft toys (although boil them cos of dust mite build up) ventilation, sounds of adults pottering around whilst you go to sleep, and heavy weighted blanket (to reproduce the effect of having a heavy human next to you)

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