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Newburg, MO
A 30-year-old female asked:

my 5 year old son has low functioning autism and does not sleep through the night what can we do to help him?

4 doctor answers9 doctors weighed in
Dr. Gerald Bausek
Psychiatry 42 years experience
Autism: His sleep problem may be due to difficulty unwinding from agitation or from recurrent fears at night. A good bedtime routine, sleep hygiene can help him, find out what soothes him. Physical daytime activities that get him tired at night may help. Work with a child psychiatrist, medications can help with low functioning autism.
Dr. Jonathan Nehrer
Child Psychiatry 36 years experience
a few ideas: Autisitic childrem may have interupted sleep cycles. You should talk to a child psychiatrist about meds. But you should set a regular schedule for the child and make the bed room dark w no distractions (remove tv, and video). Make morning a clear bright light time to get up (turn on lights if not sunny). A regular diet can help. A sleep study at a children's hospital may be needed.
Dr. William Goldie
Pediatric Neurology 48 years experience
Strict schedules: He needs and may appreciate strict and consistent schedules. Sleep aides such as music, warm milk, favorite blanket, a sweater you have worn, etc. May help. Melatonin, at times in high doses of up to 16mg each night can help some. Benadryl (diphenhydramine) may be worth a try. In severe cases we use Risperdal or imipramine. Discuss these with your doctor.
Dr. Johanna Fricke
Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 50 years experience
I haven't used Melatonin doses that high, but it's the only med I start high & stay high for 3 months, then reduce by 1 mg/ month till gone.
Nov 13, 2012
Dr. William Singer
Pediatric Neurology 51 years experience
Suggestions: consider - Melatonin, the substance that regulates your biological clock. Warm milk releases triptophane, a natural hypnotic. You can try high carbohydrate dinner which presidents use a modification of diet to help when they travel over seas. Wind down activieies and do passive activities like reading you your child or listening to calming music. turn the lights down early.

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Last updated Oct 3, 2016

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