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Autism and fear of the dark

Discussion in 'Parenting & Autism Discussions' started by Rockstar37, Mar 4, 2017.

  1. Rockstar37

    Rockstar37 New Member

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    My 7 year old has recently become afraid of the dark. Not just a small fear that can be helped with a night light. This is a fear that is so severe he has three night lights and a lamp in his room when he sleeps. If he could sleep with the light on, he would.
    Any other parents have advice on how to help him through this fear?
     
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  2. Marmot

    Marmot But you can't push Willy 'round, Willy won't go... V.I.P Member

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    Try getting him (or better yet, let him pick them out) a flashlight or two that he can take to bed with him: Something that he can hold onto, be in control of and turn on/off whenever he needs to check something out. The problem with night lights is that they cast spooky shadows everywhere that something might be lurking behind, but a flashlight can be pointed anywhere or even carried with if he has to get up to turn the light on / go to the bathroom etc.... When I was that age I didn't like night lights because said shadows spooked me out more than the dark ever would, but I would never go to bed without multiple light sources in hand and an extra one under the pillow, just in case. To this day even, I keep a 3 cell mag light within reach every night......
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2017
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  3. Rockstar37

    Rockstar37 New Member

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    Thank you Marmot. I had not thought so far as to give him a flashlight. He has a few in his toys he might like. It's more difficult for me to understand because I like having a dark place to sleep. We will try the flashlights tonight! :)
     
  4. ZebraAspie

    ZebraAspie Well-Known Member

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    At age 7 I was terrified of the dark and had to sleep with the light on and only recently have I worked up to just using a night light (I'm 17) chin up everything gets easier with time.
     
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  5. Marmot

    Marmot But you can't push Willy 'round, Willy won't go... V.I.P Member

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    As do I, and I always have, but if I can add to this: I prefer a cold, dark place to sleep so in addition to my prior comment, I sleep now (as an adult) in as cold & dark a bedroom as I can with a mag-light at the ready, should I need it.

    The thing to remember about people with a fear of the dark is that it’s not the dark that they’re afraid of, but rather what might lurk / be hiding in the dark, hence my prior comment regarding the nightlight casting creepy shadows that allows things to ‘hide’…… The key to getting thru this is not to ignore, discredit or downplay what might be lurking in the dark, but rather to empower oneself (or your son) to not be afraid of what’s lurking in the dark by providing them with a more powerful tool to expose what they’re afraid of then, (whatever it is that they’re afraid of) has to hide behind. And when you’re no longer afraid of somethings ability to hide from you, you can fall asleep because the stress level drops.

    Another thing that helped me at that age was getting “big boy” flashlights that were above / beyond toy & kiddie flashlights. Think: Heavy duty 3 & 4 D-cell Mag-Lights or anything military type. I remember once getting a crookneck army flashlight with interchangeable blue & red lenses and the fact that I could not wait to go to bed after that because I was ‘ready’. -That’s the kind of confidence you’re looking to instill / provide for him…….
     
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  6. LittleLemon

    LittleLemon Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure I can help much, but we're going through the same thing with my 7 year old daughter. She has a night light, but her door is also wide open with the hallway light on. We recently put those glow in the dark starts up on her ceiling and she loves looking at those. When she's feeling particularly anxious, I make sure she has tons of stuffed animals in her bed along with other things she's attached to. I then emphasize they're for her to feel safe. She still struggles now and then though.

    I still have a paralyzing fear of the dark, so when I'm alone, I keep the hallway light on and dive under the covers. I blame this more on my parents letting me watch Stephen King and other horror movies when I was 5 or so.
     
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  7. Kouzai

    Kouzai Member

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    When I was a child I couldn't sleep without some form of light due to thinking something was going to get me. The man culprit was often vampires so I wrapped a cloth over my neck (child's logic... They can't get to my neck now!)

    I kept a flashlight nearby at all times and usually had some type of nightlight or other device providing a soft glow.

    I don't remember what their exact name is but I had these flashlights like a flat circle. You pressed the rounded top and it turned on or off while providing a decent and inoffensive glow. Something like that might help you.

    It's more the control light you can use on your choice that boosts confidence.

    Oddly enough, in my teens and on I have to sleep in a room as dark as I can get with something covering my eyes. It's weird.
     
  8. Lor

    Lor New Member

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    Hi Rockstar,
    I am new to this forum and saw your query from a few years ago. I hope you found some relief for your child. I have used The Magical Order of Brave Knights to help my grandchildren with their fear of the dark. It is a wonderful product created to help ease anxiety in children. It comes with a cute teddy Bear who is a Brave Knight and a projecting flashlight to scare away monsters and a beautiful storybook. Check them out! Best of luck. Everyone needs a good nights sleep