Kids with ADHD and Autism are routine-oriented, and can be extremely sensitive to change. Periods of change like going back to school, traveling, the holidays, or even Daylight Savings Time can increase stress in all of us. For a child with ADHD or Autism, it can be even more stressful. And for a child who also wets the bed, these moments can lead to an increase in bedwetting. Symptoms that seemed to have passed may return, and wet sheets can become more common.
We spoke to a panel of experts including Dr. Kerry Magro Ed.D. member of the Autism Society of America’s Council of Autistic Advisors, and CEO & President of KFM Making a Difference and Dr. Sasha Hamdani MD, Psychiatrist and ADHD expert to provide you with a deeper understanding of how periods of change can affect the bedwetting journey for kids with ADHD and Autism, and share advice for navigating those times when it is unavoidable.
How Change Can Affect Kids with ADHD and Autism
How Change Impacts the Bedwetting Journey
In addition, if stress and overstimulation are leading to lost sleep, it can also cause a child to wet the bed. Bedwetting often occurs in kids who are deep sleepers, and sleep deprivation causes even deeper sleep, which can result in bedwetting.
How School Can Trigger Bedwetting in Kids with ADHD & Autism
After the transition back to school, kids will be faced with other situations that can add stress. Even simple everyday things like navigating friendships, homework and tests can be enough to induce anxiety. There are likely to be more school trips and sleepover invites as your child gets to middle school, yet according to Goodnites’ proprietary Landmark Study with parents of kids with ADHD and Autism who wet the bed, ⅔ of kids have had to miss out on sleepovers due to their bedwetting.
And unfortunately, with 1 in 6 kids being bullied on a weekly basis, bullying is another factor that can lead to a regression or increase in bedwetting.
How Travel Can Trigger Increased Bedwetting in Kids with ADHD and Autism
Common Periods of Change that Can Trigger Bedwetting
The holidays can be stressful for kids with ADHD and Autism. Traveling to visit relatives can disrupt their day-to-day routines. There’s less control over meals and snacks. And all of the excitement can be overstimulating. Sleep schedules may also go out the window. All of these disruptions can lead to an increase in bedwetting.
Daylight Savings Time
According to Dr. Kerry Magro, “the one that should be discussed more is Daylight Savings Time.” It’s not until having kids that caregivers realize how much Daylight Savings Time can throw you off of your routine. Because many children with ADHD and Autism face sleep challenges, it is so much more than simply turning the clocks backwards or forwards by an hour. To your child it can feel like an unexpected change in routine that can lead to sleep disruptions and ultimately bedwetting.
Family and Life Events
Big life moments like meeting a new sibling or furry family member, losing a loved one, moving to a new home or apartment, and going through a divorce can all impact your child’s routine and heighten anxiety and stress. However, the little day-to-day moments like fighting with a sibling, witnessing a conflict between parents or caregivers, or a change in diet can also have an unexpected effect on your child’s bedwetting.
How To Manage a Bedwetting Regression or Increase
Dr. Magro’s rule of thumb is, “First, be patient, it’s a process.” Bedwetting won’t go away overnight, and it’s not your child’s fault. But there are things to help you manage it.
Try Goodnites® Bedwetting Underwear
When your child is experiencing an increase in bedwetting or a regression, try incorporating Goodnites® absorbent bedwetting underwear into your child’s bedtime routine. They can add an element of consistency to your routine, even amidst periods of change, and help your child wake up dry with up to 100% less leaks.
Try a Sleep Journal
Dr. Magro suggests starting a sleep journal that tracks bedwetting, and can help you discover any potential triggers. “You can start a sleep journal for your child to help you have open conversations with them when they feel wet. Over time this will help create an open line of communication, and help you track (and celebrate) progress.”
“If things aren’t getting better, talk to your child’s pediatrician for a recommendation. You can also look for a support group with one of Autism Society’s affiliate chapters to get advice from other parents/self-advocates who may have had similar challenges.” Dr. Kerry Magro advised.