Now Reading: Do you have to drive around to get your asd kid to sleep?

Do you have to drive around to get your asd kid to sleep?

My friend sent me this funny video on YouTube today (see below) that really captures what me as an autism dad used to go through.  It’s a video for the new Fiat 500L car.  It’s a pretty funny 80s New Wave music video spoof about a British father trying to get his screaming twins to sleep while driving & driving & driving in the middle of the night…

As he drives, he starts to sing about his long-lost youth and he wonders how he’s gone from Jack the Dude to Jack the Dad.

It made me think of how far my boy Kyle has come.  It made me think of the days a few years back when he was about 5-6 years old, back before the magic of melatonin when we couldn’t get Kyle to sleep, no matter what we tried.  So we would get in the car and drive…but not just drive locally…no my boy needed the smoothness of highway driving.  So the wife and I would get in the car, sometimes 10-11pm-ish and just drive back & forth on this highway near us…20 minutes north & 20 minutes south until the king was in a deep enough sleep that we could bring him home and carry him to bed.  Sometimes I would give the wife a break and go on my own…me exhausted…but with a strong cup of coffee so I wouldn’t fall asleep at the wheel.

At least I wasn’t alone, I read somewhere recently parents drive on average 1,300 miles a year trying to get their children to sleep.  And that’s typical parents!  I’m sure us autism parents put even more mileage on our cars!

Let me hear all your crazy autism related driving to sleep stories!  Please share them in the comments below!

The new Fiat 500L is aimed at style-conscious young families who are looking for a car that not only meets their practical needs but also reflects their personality. Significantly larger than the iconic Fiat 500, the Fiat 500L is plenty big enough for a family of five.


Written by

Frank Campagna

I’m a 48 year old neurotypical dad with a 14 year old son with severe, non-verbal autism & epilepsy. I created this blog to rant about autism & epilepsy while celebrating my son who I affectionately call “the king” :-).

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9 People Replies to “Do you have to drive around to get your asd kid to sleep?”

  1. Amy

    Oh…we have to give our little girl rides often. They usually end up lasting much longer than just 30-40minutes. Sometimes they're needed when we pick her up from school, sometimes it's 8 or 9, sometimes it's even 3 or 4 a.m. When she needs a car ride she almost always tries to put shoes on in some way (but can't be bothered to put clothes on, she hates clothes) and will continually walk my husband or me to the door and toss our hands on the door knob. 100% of the time (so far at least) a cold front comes in the next day.

  2. I wish melatonin was magical for my kids. It'll put them asleep, but it sure doesn't keep them asleep. My son stays asleep now that he's on risperdal, but my other two take turns waking up in the middle of the night. With autism, it's not like you can put on a movie and go back to sleep. One time when I did that, my daughter had dumped many panfuls of tapwater onto the kitchen floor and made her own little swimpool.

  3. First let me just say that your post on the magic of melatonin saved my life and probably the lives of my children as well before I. Could strangle them! LOL..

    About six months ago my two year old needed to be driven around whole listening to gospel music (or contemporary Christian music) for about 30-40 minutes each night. And it had to be roads that weren't brightly lot either. If there were too many lights he'd just stare at them without blinking. Of the music changed from the playlist I had used the first few nights he'd scream without ceasing.

    This went on for months until we started him on melatonin like hos two brothers.

  4. Been there, done that with Thing#1. I physically ache for every parent still there with their kiddos!!!

  5. Anonymous

    Thanks for the reminding me lol… My kiddo is 11 but until about 8 my husband use to have to holds him down kicking and screaming. When it got too much it was, my job to drive him around so at least my hubby could get some sleep.

  6. I did this for my NT daughter, but didn't need it for James. I had to be going at least 45 miles per hour otherwise all HELL would break loose!!!! 1300 mile huh… some nights it felt like I could drive the length of Cali before she would settle. Love the video!!!

  7. Anonymous

    Nope. My son hates the sound of motors. He never slept in the car.

  8. Anonymous

    yes, definitely, to comfort a meltdown, sometimes to sleep. My son liked the expressway so much that he would tantrum if we passed over one without getting on. For over 9 months, had to reroute errands with him to avoid overpasses.

  9. sleep? No…calm meltdowns? Yes. I once drove Lily around the block continuously for 45 minutes to calm a meltdown…It was so damn dull….