Light Therapy: How it can Help Your Autistic Child

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A good night’s sleep is beneficial to your overall well-being. However, many people find the ability to sleep elusive. Reports indicate that almost 70% of adults have problems sleeping at least once every month. Accordingly, nearly 11% report an inability to sleep daily. 

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While kids rarely experience sleep disorders, children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)often have interrupted sleep time. Also, many autistic children experience seasonal affective disorders (SAD). Light therapy has been identified as a possible solution for relieving symptoms associated with sadness and improving behavioral issues for these kids. 

Research has identified a link between seasonal affective disorders and shorter days during winter. From this research, it has been found that supplemental light emanating from photo-therapy products can help autistic children by relieving SAD symptoms. Light therapy can help in the following situations:

  • Improved alertness during the day
  • Reduced disruptive behaviors
  • Enhanced sleep-wake cycle in children
  • Reduced sleep deficiency and sleeping problems

Natural light therapy for autistic children

 

According to research, the best type of light for autistic children is any that produces 10,000 lux and filters out UV light. Despite misconceptions about Sopris solar, it is a good source of natural light. This light should be used in the morning after the kid is awake. Having the child stay close to the light for at least 30 minutes can help relieve autistic-related symptoms and help the child sleep better. Morning hours and in the evening are the best time to use light therapy products. Additionally, parents are advised to avoid lightboxes during evening hours since they emit wavelengths that deter sleep. 

Benefits of light therapy for autistic children

 

Light therapy has a positive impact on adult health. Similarly, light therapy can also help kids with autism. By learning how this concept works and understanding how to use it effectively, parents can create an environment that improves sleep, reduces behavioral issues in autistic kids. 

The science behind light therapy for autistic kids

 

There is a master clock in the hypothalamus, and it functions by regulating the body’s circadian cycle. The master clock is very sensitive to light since light signals the release of serotine that makes the body stay awake. When there is darkness, serotine is converted into melatonin that makes the human body sleepy. When this light is not sensed, serotine production is disrupted, causing behavioral issues and lack of sleep. 

When a kid is exposed to light in the early hours of the morning, and late in the evening, the light regulates the release of melatonin, making the child awake during the day and asleep at night. 

The bottom line

Natural light can be used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD). However, parents are always advised to consult with physicians before starting light therapy for kids with autism. Accordingly, it is essential that your child:

  • Does not use medications that enhance light sensitivity
  • Has no eye condition that makes them sensitive to light
  • Has no history of skin cancer and other related diseases
  • Has no conditions that make their skin sensitive to light 

These are precautions to ensure you do not expose your child to other harmful consequences.

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Kori

Content Creator at Kori at Home
Kori is a late diagnosed neurodivergent mom. She is currently located in Albany, NY where she is raising a neurodiverse family. Her older daughter is non-speaking autistic (and also has ADHD and Anxiety) and her youngest daughter is HSP/Gifted. A blogger, podcaster, writer, and coach; Kori shares neurodivergent life in a neurotypical world while helping others to do the same. As an empath, HSP, and highly intuitive individual, Kori brings her own life experiences as an autistic woman combined with her adventures in momming to bring you the day-to-day of her life at home. Kori is on a mission to empower moms of autistic children to make informed parenting decisions with confidence and conviction.

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