Daylight Saving Time & Autism: How to Help Your Child Prepare – The Elemy Learning Studio - Here On The Spectrum

Children with autism are more likely to suffer from sleep problems, which can cause daytime fatigue and lead to other learning issues. But keeping your child’s circadian rhythm in check doesn’t have to be difficult–with these tips you’ll get it done in no time flat!

The “daylight saving time 2021” is a recent change to the daylight saving time. It’s important that children prepare for this change, which can be difficult if you’re autistic.

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The clock is a crucial tool for parents of children with autism. However, between March and November, the same clock might be your deadliest adversary. DST transitions, whether you’re springing forward or falling back, may wreak havoc in your house. 

Know this: Even little disruptions in routine may be difficult for children with autism. You’re not alone if your family struggles to adapt to daylight saving time. However, as a parent, you can do a lot to assist your children and family prepare for the difficulties ahead. 

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What Exactly Is Daylight Saving Time?

Scientific explanations are important to some youngsters with autism. This section is for you if your kid is a thinker who wants to know the ins and outs of every change. If that’s the case, feel free to scroll down to the advice we’ve included below. 

The United States will see two time shifts in 2022:

  • We’ll switch to Daylight Saving Time on March 13th. The clocks will advance by one hour. 
  • 6th of November Daylight Saving Time will be replaced with Standard Time. The clocks will be set back one hour. 

Why do we go ahead and backward in time? In principle, this little alteration allows individuals to benefit from an additional hour of natural evening daylight. You might also save money by not turning on all of the lights at night. 

While most families value economic savings, many resent the inconvenience. In fact, in recent years, practically every state has suggested a time-change moratorium. Some states, such as Florida, have passed laws to make Daylight Saving Time permanent. 

However, if you reside in a state that allows the changeover, you must accept the choice (or resign yourself to being an hour early or late for every engagement on your calendar). 

Daylight Saving Time Causes Three Problems Across the Board

We are mostly concerned with autistic persons. However, it’s important to realize that time changes pose major problems for everyone, including parents and caregivers. These problems may make it more difficult for you to care for your kid and family. 

These three issues are all linked to Daylight Saving Time changes:

  1. Sleep disturbances. We lose an hour of sleep as we advance one hour in March. On the Monday after the transition, individuals sleep for an average of 40 minutes less than they would usually. 
  2. Mood problems. The days feel shorter and darker when we return to school in November. A 11% increase in depressive episodes has been linked to this transition. 
  3. Concentration issues. It’s difficult to focus on the work at hand when we’re sleep deprived, agitated, or both.

These concerns may affect anybody, including your child’s classmates, caregivers, and the general public. You’re not alone if you sense an additional vibration of tension in the air. 

Daylight Saving Time Causes Three Autism-Specific Issues

You could be exhausted and irritable. You could notice that when you wake up, the sky seems to be quite black, or that the windows at your workplace darken long before you leave for home. Changes like these may irritate you, but they may be life-threatening for a youngster with autism. 

We know that many children with autism respond to the change in one of three ways:

  • Anxiety. Many persons with autism benefit from routines. A routine, aided by indications such as the rising and setting of the sun, may be reassuring. When the day is structured, surprises are simpler to handle. A time change throws their routines off, which may create a lot of stress. 
  • Depression. Some autistic youngsters just do not grasp why the time is changing or why it is significant. They may also experience sleep deprivation and lose out on the additional hour of sunshine. All of these concerns, whether or not your kid is able to communicate them, may lead to depression. 
  • Problems with behavior. A youngster who is exhausted and nervous may not be able to vocally convey his or her feelings. Physical retaliation may help relieve stress, but these episodes can be difficult for parents to deal with. 

Recognize that your child—and your whole family—is trying diligently to resolve this problem. You are collaborating. If things don’t go as planned, try to be patient with yourself. You’ll get through it, and you’ll go through it together.

Do This Right Now: Prepare for Daylight Savings Time

You are the most knowledgeable about your kid. While some experts recommend starting to prepare your kid about a week before the transition, you may believe that is too short a time frame. Perhaps your youngster needs more time to comprehend the concept. Similarly, you may be aware that giving your kid more time to think would cause them to be more stressed.

Decide on a schedule that works best for your kid and family. However, keep the following suggestions in mind as part of your strategy:

  1. Educate. Assist your youngster in comprehending what Daylight Saving Time is and why it is observed. Your script may be as lengthy or as short as your youngster wants it to be. A youngster who is interested in history may wish to go into it thoroughly. Another youngster could be content with only a few sentences of background. 
  2. Explain. Explain to your youngster what will happen next. Consider telling a social tale about how mealtimes and routines will change. Explain how the sky will seem different when it’s time to go to bed. 
  3. Prepare. Blackout drapes in the bedroom might assist prevent light shifts, while bright lighting could help lighten gloomy spots. Others may be horrified by your decorating efforts, while your youngster may enjoy these tools. Do as much or as little as your youngster is willing to put up with. 
  4. Train. Consult your child’s care team for advice on how to prepare. It could be best to stretch out your child’s routines across multiple days in 15-minute increments. Alternatively, doing one shift as a family would be the best option. Together, go through several possibilities.
  5. Schedule. Be aware that your child’s emotions and abilities may be harmed as a result of the shift. You may not be performing at your best, either. Major jobs or events should not be scheduled. 

Keep track of any techniques that work for your household. You’ll be ready for the next transition when it arrives. 

Saturday/Sunday Steps on How to Handle Daylight Saving Time Changes

When the time comes to change your home clocks, you may have spent weeks preparing. However, you’ll still have some work to do. 

On the weekend of the time change, do the following steps:

  1. Darken. To block out the light and establish a constant sleeping environment, close the blinds in your child’s room. 
  2. Maintain a routine. Sunday wake-up times and Saturday bedtimes should be as constant as feasible. 
  3. Look for the sun. Find some sunlight as soon as your youngster wakes up. Open the drapes all the way. Turn the lights on. Take a brief stroll with your youngster if he or she likes being outdoors. 

Keep your child’s care team informed of any difficulties you encounter. To assist you in dealing with continuing challenges, schedule check-ins as required. Also, try to be patient with yourself as well as your kid. You’ve got this! 

References:

When Will Daylight Savings Time Begin in 2022? (December 20, 2021) Science is alive and well. 

State Legislation on Daylight Saving Time. (March 20, 2022) The National Conference of State Legislatures is an organization that brings together state legislatures from throughout the country. 

Daylight Saving Time Termination Reduces Sleep and Increases Workplace Injuries. (2009). The Journal of Applied Psychology is a publication dedicated to the study of applied psychology. 

Transitions to Daylight Savings Time and the Incidence of Unipolar Depressive Episodes (April 2017). Epidemiology. 

It’s time to get ready for Daylight Savings Time. (March of this year). The Autism Society of North Carolina is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people with autism 

The Clock Has the Power to Change Your Mood. 2016 (November). The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving mental 

“Daylight saving time europe” is an article that discusses the pros and cons of daylight saving time. The article also includes a link to a website that provides information about autism, including how to help your child prepare for it. Reference: daylight saving time europe.

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