Back before the beginning of Abram’s Nation and our development of The Safety Sleeper®, I was like every other mother with a special needs child who has trouble staying in bed throughout the night.
I was constantly worried at bedtime, I was constantly awakened by sudden noises, and I was constantly and utterly exhausted.
I was an emotional wreck.
My greatest fear was that my autistic son would climb out of his crib, slip, and then knock his head on the doorknob before plummeting to the ground.
To quell our concerns, we began modifying our son’s room to make it as safe as possible. We pulled down the curtains, removed the dressers, and padded the walls, but we still hadn’t addressed the major problem: the crib.
I was haunted by visions of him climbing again, this time catching his legs in the bars and snapping a bone as the rest of our family slept through the night.
Our son had simply outgrown his crib.
So we moved on to his “big boy” bed. And although that prevented terrible, painful falls, it also allowed him to be more mobile throughout the night.
Night after night, we dealt with wandering, pounding, and screaming, and each time, we responded by carrying him back to his bed, avoiding eye contact, and crossing our fingers that this time he would be still.
Creating A Change for the Better: The First Safety Sleeper
Something had to change.
Even then, we realized sleep is so incredibly important. It’s crucial for our performance at work, it’s critical for controlling our moods, and it’s especially important for special needs children as they grow and develop. Without it, I felt like our entire family was coming apart at the seams, stitch by stitch.
The answer, we found, was in modifying our son’s bed. Starting with the mattress, we combined canvas, metal rigging, and cleverly disguised zippers to create a custom enclosed special needs bed we called “Abram’s Bed.” Over the next few nights, we gradually improved upon the design to withstand our son’s rough-and-tumble movements.
As we perfected the design, we found Abram became calmer. Once he realized he couldn’t defeat the enclosure, it became a sort of refuge, a silent space where he could finally relax and sleep.
Suddenly, the entire family was sleeping through the night again.
Why Enclosed Special Needs Beds Are the Solution to Child Safety At Night
I’ve personally heard the skepticism around enclosed special needs beds. Much of it comes from parents, professionals, and insurance funding agents who simply don’t have children who wander at night. But the bed that helped us launch Abram’s Nation and our mission to serve special needs children taught me something important: Although these FDA-registered beds are incredibly valuable for special needs children, they can also benefit children in general.
A few of the biggest benefits include:
- No eloping, no climbing, no danger. Enclosed beds prevent restless, violent, uncontrollable, and unrestrained children from scrambling out of cribs, running downstairs, or fiddling with dangerous appliances in the kitchen. With all potential exits cut off, The Safety Sleeper® acts as a sort of comforting bear hug!
- Silence and isolation mean fewer distractions. For children like Abram, overstimulation can be distracting or even distressing. Inside his enclosed bed at night, he’s cut off from shadows on the wall, the hum of the TV downstairs, and yellow light from the hallway slipping under the door.
- Better sleep for better health. Sleep impacts everything, including our physical and mental health. With good sleep, children wake refreshed, helping them perform better in therapy, school, and daily tasks.
While these benefits alone are transformative for many families, our FDA-registered and patented enclosed safety beds are highly modifiable based on a child’s individual needs. Enhancements can include:
- Waterproof coverlet
- Interior mesh pockets
- Video monitoring windows
- Additional access points
Completely customized for each child, these special needs beds can transform the lives of kids and their loving parents!
What Others Have Tried In Place of Enclosed Beds
There are many potential solutions to nighttime wandering among special needs children, but few of them are as effective as enclosed beds designed specifically for special needs children.
We’ve seen and tried many alternatives ourselves, including:
- Cribs. These can be effective until the child grows old enough and strong enough to climb out on their own. At that point, they become much more likely to accidentally injure themselves, as we feared Abram would!
- Behavior modification therapy. Behavior modification therapy relies on a person’s individual psychology to coach them into changing their behaviors. While tactics like praise and approval or positive programming can work with some children, these strategies may be less effective among certain special needs kids. However, behavior modification therapy is often effective when used in combination with The Safety Sleeper®.
- Medication. As a sleep aid, medication can be effective in helping children fall asleep at the end of the day. Unfortunately, many parents find medication doesn’t always keep their wandering kids asleep throughout the entire night.
None of this is to say these strategies are ineffective. In some cases, a combination of tactics is even more effective. But in our experience, an enclosed special needs bed is a powerful solution without the challenges of therapy, the dangers of a crib, or the side effects of medication.
Case Study: An Enclosed Bed Worked Better Than Behavior Modification Therapy And Medication Alone
Marisa Grove’s story is very similar to mine.
Like Abram, her son, JR, frequently wandered at night, and this wandering got him into physical danger. One of his favorite nighttime destinations was the kitchen, where he’d tug at heavy objects on the counter and flip the switches on the front of the stove.
As JR grew, the dangers increased—especially since he wasn’t maturing mentally as quickly as he did physically. Soon, her son was even able to reach the locks at the top of the doors, which meant he could potentially wander out of the house in the middle of the night.
The constant eloping impacted the entire family. For JR, lack of sleep meant an increase in potentially dangerous seizures. At the same time, it also cost Marisa her job. As a traveling salesperson for a pharmaceutical company, Marisa found herself falling asleep at the wheel on long trips. Eventually, she decided to resign from her position before she could hurt anyone.
Desperate for a solution, Marisa tried everything.
She tried behavior modification therapy led by a board-certified behavior analyst. It didn’t work, even after years of therapy and attempts to teach JR to stay in bed.
She tried countless medications to keep him asleep. And although they found medication to help him fall asleep, they couldn’t find anything to help him stay asleep.
Eventually, she tried an enclosed bed.
The results were immediate.
For JR, the enclosed bed helps to turn off the stimulation in his brain while creating a non-threatening enclosure to keep him in place. After receiving his enclosed bed, JR began sleeping for longer periods of time, giving Marisa and the rest of the family an opportunity to catch up on sleep as well.
Founding Abram’s Nation And Building A Better Future For Special Needs Kids And Their Families
After seeing the impact of Abram’s custom enclosed bed firsthand, I decided to refine the product even further while partnering with a team of experts. In doing so, I founded Abram’s Nation, a company dedicated to parents and families with children who have special needs.In the years since, we’ve developed numerous products with one goal: To help children with special needs live happier, healthier, and safer lives! If you’d like to see our current options for safety beds, check out the Safety Sleeper website.