Autism And Heat Intolerance

Autism And Heat Intolerance

In Autism by Sean17 Comments

So, we’ve hit summer here in the UK. We have the long days and the muggy hot weather. Little Mr (well, me too to be honest) is finding hard to get to sleep, not that he had the best sleeping pattern. However, when searching for a solution I found it’s quite a common thing with ‘Autism And Heat Intolerance‘.

So, I thought I’d take a better look at the subject, see if I can get some info for myself and, of course, to share with all you too.

Autism And Heat Intolerance

So, in the past I’ve often read about children on the spectrum that won’t, or at least reject, wearing a coat in the colder weather. This might be caused, from what I read, by the body’s inability to regulate temperature – or even a sensory issue.

When it comes to warmer weather, it’s often the same reason as to why some children have an intolerance to heat.

Children with autism (or even just if they have SPD) frequently have sensory difficulties or sensitivities – and part of those may be to warm temperatures. Some of the info I read put temperatures such as 70F and so on, but I don’t believe you can put an exact temperature of above as each child is different.

I further read that those with SPD may struggle for their brains to regulate the temperature of their bodies in the environment.

For example…

For example, those children with such sensory difficulties may feel hot while others feel cold (one reason why some children won’t wear a coat in colder months).

I also read that some individuals with Sensory temperature issues have trouble sweating to cool down (or the opposite they might sweat too much).

Does this info help me?

The thing is, this info may help me understand how little Mr is struggling in the head – he does have sensory difficulties along with his Autism. That said, a lot of this info helps me understand myself.

I’ve always had difficulties with heat. I don’t feel the cold so much. I sweat an awful lot as soon as it gets warm – I can often look like I’ve been swimming – seriously. Nighttimes are when I can’t sleep either and, well, lots of pillowcase washing.

The thing is, I know that little Mr is having difficulties potentially with the heat and the long days, but what can I do?

The plan…

So, the first thing I did was to buy some blackout blinds. We bought some travel blackout blinds called Blackout Buddy – Portable Blackout Blinds (that’s an Amazon affiliate link if you want to take a look). These have worked great – they are a little big and I stuck some extra velcro to the parts that were oversized four our window.

They have really darkened the room – and have made it a little cooler as we leave them up in the day too.

With those in place our next challenge was to cool the room down and little Mr down. So, we started with having some nice short all in one bedtime suites. These are kind of like a lycra and almost look like a Lyotard. They work great in also stopping him pulling everything off too.

So this is cooling for clothes. The next thing we introduced was a fan. We did try a larger fan, though as he could get to it he kept messing around with it. So, I decided to try a different solution and went with a small, portable, battery operated camping fan (again, it’s an Amazon affiliate link if you wanted to take a look).

This small fan has allowed me to put it just out of the way. It’s not so powerful, so we will most likely look at something larger – but its a test of if it works or not.

So far, to date

So far, the blackout blinds seem to be working with reducing the light. Having a fan is helping a little (we could do with a larger unit but out of the way for him to grab) – we are really trying to get him down to a comfortable heat. I know a fan on really helps me 🙂

This is really a trial and error though. We understand that heat intolerance could be a reason he is not sleeping so well – not going to sleep easy and then waking up at times like 1am.

I don’t really have the definitive answer yet – though I would say that if you’re in the same situation of your little one not sleeping well – it could be they have a sensory issue with the heat and you may want to start trying some of these solutions yourself?

If you have any more solutions I, we can try, then please do leave them in a comment below. I would love to learn more and find out new ways to help cool things down for little Mr (and myself).

3 Little Buttons

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    1. Author

      Thanks. Yes it certainly seems to help, though little Mr discovered he can pull it off the velcro. Amazing how much darker and cooler room is tbough

    1. Author

      Yes, not too great with it being so hot. It’s a balanced game at the moment as we’re letting little Mr downstairs from time to time if too hot as cooler downstairs. But still looking for perfect combo 🙂

  1. When it’s hot I can imagine how difficult it maybe. Of course summer can bring other things such as pollen so for some certainly not the best months

  2. So interesting that there is a link between autism and heat intolerance, but I guess I’m not surprised since it is sensory. Glad you have found some solutions to help. #DreamTeam

    1. Author

      Yes so true. Think its more to do with the sensory side so not sure if everyone with Autism would have same issues. Goes to show though how even the elements can cause issue

  3. We live in Australia and I’ve found my daughter really intolerant to hot weather but copes if we don’t make it obvious that it’s hot ( sounds weird but hey )
    She doesn’t tolerate the blinds down AT ALL so this had me thinking how I can shade her room . The hottest in the house . I put a big market umbrella outside her window and it’s worked wonderfully. It’s about (for us ) keeping our lovely occupied and diverted and not showing signs of the extreme heat ourselves as she feeds off me in particular. On Friday we are expecting 43celcius
    So wish us luck

  4. It’s perfectly well related to his autism. I’m 30 years old, female and have heat intolerance and heat sensory issues in addition to high functioning autism. I know several others on spectrum that have almost identical issues with heat as myself. Starting early with blackout blinds and the other measures you are taking will save his sleep hygiene and prevent years of sleep deprivation! You are truly ahead of the curve as a parent figuring this out! Trust me I’m writing this as I lay here unable to sleep because my air conditioning is not producing cooled air at good rate tonight. P.S. the fan you need is a table fan it may due to put it up on a bookshelf against a wall facing the bed or hang it from the wall. If all else fails try a ceiling fan.

    1. Author

      Thank you for your lovely and insightful comment. I think every day is a big learning curve for us and all and certainly each day is helped by insightful comments such as yours.

      Thanks for commenting

  5. Heat, no just warmth is massive problem for me. I’m 53 with Asperger syndrome and have always hated heat, I thrive on frosty bitter days and yes I don’t wear a coat or hat. Heat, noise and crowds are the three triggers for a meltdown with me, oh and using phones. In the past I’ve been treated like party pooper of the year just for being able to tolerate heat.

  6. My grandson is autistic and I have noticed too he has a huge sensitivity to heat & was hard to get to sleep, to stay asleep, etc. My daughter was dressing him in pajamas or fuzzy onesies when he was little. As he spent the night with me often I noticed if he fell asleep with pajamas on & covered as well with blankets – about 30 minutes or so after falling asleep he’d start violently scratching at his head like he was underwater and couldn’t breathe ‘& trying to swim to the surface for air, then it would turn into what seemed like having a nightmare & he’d wake up disoriented & crying to go home. I found letting him sleep in his underwear & a thin SOFT sleeveless slip over t-shirt worked wonders. Where I use a downs comforter to cover myself – he does better with a high Egyptian thread count sheet for his cover. I turn my central ac down to 71 when he stays the night, Use a fan which is also great for white noise which helps him to stay asleep & use black out curtains as well. 5 mg of melantonin about an hour before you want him asleep also helps him to fall & stay asleep all night. When he gets a good nights sleep – he has no melt downs the next day. Autistic children do so much better when they get their sleep! His pediatrician recommended the melantonin. It is a natural non habit forming sleep hormone which autistic children don’t produce enough of. You must give it to them as soon as you lay down though so he falls asleep within the hour. If you wait until 1 or 2 am to give it to them – it does the opposite effect & they stay awake all night. I wanted him asleep by 9 pm last night because it was a school night & he had to rise at 545 am so I gave him 5mg at 8pm. He was asleep at 845 pm & slept all night. I only had to call him once to get up & he awoke rested & ready for the day.

  7. Now we are facing the problem of him doing PE at school. His PE class meets at 130 pm and we live in Florida. It’s been HOT like 100 degrees but feels like 105. They’re outside in the sun playing ball and running so my grandson gets very overheated & he’s also clumsy & not the best at being athletic so he doesn’t do well In sports but is expected to participate. Coupled with being way overheated & the other Competitive kids hounding him to do better – he gets way overheated, upset & PE ends up being a melt down before it’s over and done with. Does anyone have any suggestions for this? I wanted to have his pediatrician send in a note explaining his over sensitivity to heat so he could possibly walk at PE instead of running but his mother wants him doing what the other kids do so I’m at a loss.

  8. Hi Sean, great piece. My son is 6 and is asd/spd/ocd/adhd/hfa/verbal. And for us here in S.A Johannesburg summer is an absolute killer. We had a massive meltdown today due to him being over stimulated, hot and simply tired.

    Heat is definitely a trigger, i think im going to try the fan idea. Thank you so very much for sharing.

    Take care

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