So, we've hit summer here in the UK. We have the long days and the muggy hot weather. Little Mr (well, me too to be honest) is finding hard to get to sleep, not that he had the best sleeping pattern. However, when searching for a solution I found it's quite a common thing with 'Autism And Heat Intolerance'.
So, I thought I'd take a better look at the subject, see if I can get some info for myself and, of course, to share with all you too.
So, in the past I've often read about children on the spectrum that won't, or at least reject, wearing a coat in the colder weather. This might be caused, from what I read, by the body's inability to regulate temperature - or even a sensory issue.
When it comes to warmer weather, it's often the same reason as to why some children have an intolerance to heat.
Children with autism (or even just if they have SPD) frequently have sensory difficulties or sensitivities - and part of those may be to warm temperatures. Some of the info I read put temperatures such as 70F and so on, but I don't believe you can put an exact temperature of above as each child is different.
I further read that those with SPD may struggle for their brains to regulate the temperature of their bodies in the environment.
For example, those children with such sensory difficulties may feel hot while others feel cold (one reason why some children won't wear a coat in colder months).
I also read that some individuals with Sensory temperature issues have trouble sweating to cool down (or the opposite they might sweat too much).
The thing is, this info may help me understand how little Mr is struggling in the head - he does have sensory difficulties along with his Autism. That said, a lot of this info helps me understand myself.
I've always had difficulties with heat. I don't feel the cold so much. I sweat an awful lot as soon as it gets warm - I can often look like I've been swimming - seriously. Nighttimes are when I can't sleep either and, well, lots of pillowcase washing.
The thing is, I know that little Mr is having difficulties potentially with the heat and the long days, but what can I do?
So, the first thing I did was to buy some blackout blinds. We bought some travel blackout blinds called Blackout Buddy - Portable Blackout Blinds (that's an Amazon affiliate link if you want to take a look). These have worked great - they are a little big and I stuck some extra velcro to the parts that were oversized four our window.
They have really darkened the room - and have made it a little cooler as we leave them up in the day too.
With those in place our next challenge was to cool the room down and little Mr down. So, we started with having some nice short all in one bedtime suites. These are kind of like a lycra and almost look like a Lyotard. They work great in also stopping him pulling everything off too.
So this is cooling for clothes. The next thing we introduced was a fan. We did try a larger fan, though as he could get to it he kept messing around with it. So, I decided to try a different solution and went with a small, portable, battery operated camping fan (again, it's an Amazon affiliate link if you wanted to take a look).
This small fan has allowed me to put it just out of the way. It's not so powerful, so we will most likely look at something larger - but its a test of if it works or not.
So far, the blackout blinds seem to be working with reducing the light. Having a fan is helping a little (we could do with a larger unit but out of the way for him to grab) - we are really trying to get him down to a comfortable heat. I know a fan on really helps me 🙂
This is really a trial and error though. We understand that heat intolerance could be a reason he is not sleeping so well - not going to sleep easy and then waking up at times like 1am.
I don't really have the definitive answer yet - though I would say that if you're in the same situation of your little one not sleeping well - it could be they have a sensory issue with the heat and you may want to start trying some of these solutions yourself?
If you have any more solutions I, we can try, then please do leave them in a comment below. I would love to learn more and find out new ways to help cool things down for little Mr (and myself).