When Vroom, Vroom Leads to Zzzzs
Mill Levy Funding Helps Boy with Autism and Family Get Sleep
Mikee loves cars. He loves watching the “Cars” movie, playing with toy cars and pretty much anything else involving cars. To Mikee, they are more than toys, they are an important component of his comfort and structure.
Because of his autism, Mikee struggles with stress and anxiety when he switches tasks and activities throughout the day or when he encounters a major change to his schedule. That can lead to challenging behaviors that impact those around him. At the advice of therapists, Mikee began using cars as a transition item, a stable object he associates with security and predictability that limits the impact of disruptions and helps him establish a routine.
As a result, Mikee has become very dependent on cars. For years, he even needed them to fall asleep – in his parents’ bed, a habit his family tried to break with little success. With two adults, a child and a parking lot of cars in one bed, Mikee and his parents got little sleep, which led to even more behavioral challenges because of the impact on Mikee’s mood, temperament and self-regulating ability. They saw various therapists and tried different strategies, but nothing worked.
In the end, it was Mikee’s supportive and creative mom who discovered the solution. During a check-in conversation with their service coordinator, Mikee’s mom shared that a child’s car bed may be just what Mikee needs to fall asleep. With the support of mill levy funding, RMHS bought a car bed for him and his family. Today, Mikee sleeps in his car bed by himself, even without his toy cars. Mikee’s parents are thrilled to watch him wake up in his own bed, knowing they had all slept soundly in their own spaces.
Thank you, Denver, for providing funding to help Mikee to become more independent!