Meet Elaine, a 9 year old girl with autism who would spend most of her nights awake with very little sleep. Maybe 6 hours a night but would be up off and on all night. To the point where father could hear her making noises from the bedroom. Sometimes she would have to calm herself in her closet. After her family received Grant Support from the state of Minnesota for the purchase of her bed, Elaine is now sleeping 11 hours straight through on many nights. Throughout the course of Elaine's life she has gone through many stages where she was trying to find comfort and calm so she could feel energized throughout the day. As she has a sensory processing disorder, she's needed to make certain adjustments in her lifestyle. For example, she would always keep her hair cut short because she couldn't stand the thought of her parents blow drying her hair. The intensity of the sound was something that gave her so much discomfort that she finally decided to just keep her hair short. This created another internal dilemma that was giving her discomfort. She would have to face social judgement from other classmates due to her style of her. As this internal dilemma is so vivid and frustrating for Elaine... choosing between cutting her hair versus social judgement has been a challenging decision. Even though she really wanted to have long hair, the discomfort of the blow dryer was so bothersome that she chose to keep her hair short. However, things have now changed. Within the first week of getting her bed, for the first time ever, she said to her father,
"Dad, do you mind blow drying my hair today?"
Her mother and father were stunned! This was unprecedented.
And, as you can see, her hair is growing longer the way she enjoys it.
Also, when she feels stressed and needs her safe space, she no longer goes into her closet to calm herself; she can calm herself in her bed.
And, another added touch, when the family plays board games, no one leaves the table in anger. Which apparently, Elaine found herself getting a little upset during family game time.
It just goes to show us, never underestimate the value of a full night of sleep.
-The zPods Family