Autism, Epilepsy, Medications and a Sleepover

My son has been invited to his very first non-family sleepover. At age 11, many kids have already had sleepovers with their friends but my son has only stayed the night at my sister’s house and has only had his 12 year-old cousin stay the night at our house.

This Saturday, he will be staying the night at a friend’s house with a few classmates. While this may seem like a non-issue to most families, when you are dealing with autism (even high-functioning autism), epilepsy and medications, it is anything but a non-issue.

Alex is aware of his differences and for the most part he embraces them but every now and then he wishes he wasn’t different. Every day at the end of lunch he goes to the nurse for the afternoon dose of his epilepsy medication. His classmates know about it but he’s a little nervous about having to take medication at his friend’s house. I need to talk to his friend’s mom to see if she’s comfortable giving him his medication. If not, I can always stop by and say quickly say hi and give Alex his meds.

In addition to his epilepsy medication, Alex also takes medicine to help him sleep. Clonidine is commonly prescribed to children on the autism spectrum to help them sleep. However, I explained to Alex that at a ‘slumber party’ the last thing he may want to be is the kid slumbering deeply.

I explained about the slumber parties of my youth – hands in water, shaving cream on the hands and a tickle on the nose, etc. Essentially the first person that fell asleep was pranked. Now this may not have been nice but everyone in attendance knew that this would happen. If Alex is the first to fall asleep and he gets pranked, it is likely to ruin his entire evening.

When he takes clonidine to sleep, not only does he sleep deeply but he is very grouchy if he wakes up too soon. I’d hate for him to verbally accost his friends in a sleepy stupor. So, we’ve made the decision to skip the clonidine for the party. He may not get much sleep but how many kids really sleep well during a sleepover anyhow?

I admit, I’m nervous about the sleepover. I hope that he has a lot of fun and that this is the first of many sleepover invitations in his future. I just have to get over the hurdle of the first night over at a friend’s house.

Has your child with autism had a sleepover at a friend’s house? If so, how did it go?

About Melissa

Melissa is the mother of two children on the autism spectrum and strives to provide information about all aspects of autism through her blog, The Autism Education Site. Follow Melissa on Twitter. Like me on Facebook.

© Melissa Hincha-Ownby and The Autism Education Site, 2008-2014.


  1. [...] few weeks of the school year. Alex was missing a few assignments and lamenting the fact that his friends all got to hang out together but he never got to join them. I tried to explain personal responsibility to him several different [...]