Our family around Christmas 2010: Caleb, Abram, Macie, Rose and Jeff
My name is Rose. I'm a wife and mother of three children, one of whom is autistic. Abram was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at a very early age. He has always been very full of energy and never slept great. This is our story of how I found my passion for helping others because of autism.
Abram climbed out of his crib early. So we bought a crib tent. He figured out how to get out of it and how to destroy it several different times and ways. We tried putting him to bed in his typical toddler bed. He would get up and spin, spin, spin. Then, he would fall on the ground or bang into the walls. We constantly feared that he would eventually hurt himself and were concerned for his safety. At the same time, I was drained by his ongoing "anti sleep routine" that I became worried how effective I as a parent could be - for Abram and my other two children. There is only so much patience in a tired mommy!
In June 2007, during a visit to a friend's house, Abram was still having sleeping issues. We used a pack-n-play and put an afghan over the top, securing it with bungee cords. This setup slowed Abram down - for a few minutes. It was then that we and our friends began to talk what kind of bed, in theory, would be perfect for our needs. Based on this discussion, we designed and our friend built for us what we call now The Safety SleeperTM.
Abram in 2008 with the first Safety SleeperTM. Since then, we have improved various aspects of the bed.
When we started using Abram's new bed, it felt like a huge weight was physically as well as emotionally lifted from my body, an experience like no other I have ever felt before. This bed changed our lives so dramatically. No longer did I worry about his safety, no longer did I have to stay outside his door and wait until he tired himself out and fell asleep, no longer did I have the fear that we would never go on vacation together as an entire family. This bed finally gave us the ability to be a typical family - being able to visit family and friends, our kids being able to spend the night at grandma's house, having a regular bed routine.
After using the bed for a few months, my heart became heavy that I was supposed to share this bed with other families with special needs children to give them the same comfort and peace of mind. I decided to offer it under the name The Safety SleeperTM.
The Safety SleeperTM is a bedframe that fits a regular twin (or full) size mattress. The enclosure piece is made of canvas and a screen type material that encompasses the mattress and works like a canopy or tent so that Abram is completely contained. The best part for us: The bedframe is portable and allows us again to travel together as a family. When we travel, we use a twin size air mattress.
Left: Most hotel rooms offer enough space to set up Abram's Safety SleeperTM and Macy's pack 'n play. Right: Abram and I at a Jamaican beach, spring 2010.
Since 2009, The Safety SleeperTM found a home with many families across the US and abroad, helping them with taking care of their special needs children with Angelman Syndrome, Smith-Magenis Syndrome, Autism, Dandy-Walker Syndrome, Mowat-Wilson Syndrome, Sanfilippo Syndrome and traumatic brain injuries.
Read what they have to say...
Walk now for Autism, Texas 2009, and at the Disability Awareness Celebration at PNC Park, Pittsburgh, 2010
I have heard from many more families that need The Safety SleeperTM but can't afford it. Knowing all too well that insurance and other funding sources often do not cover the expensive equipment needed to make life for children with special needs easier, my friend Jackie Smolinski and I joined together and established a non-profit organization: Fund it Forward helps families obtain expensive medical and adaptive equipment such as augmentative communication devices, bath and feeding chairs, enclosed beds or sensory equipment.
If your family is struggling to cover the costs of expensive equipment, please do not hesitate to contact Fund it Forward. Click here to learn more!
In 2010 I was nominated for and received one of Pittsburgh's "40 und 40" awards. The program recognizes 40 people under the age of 40 who are committed to shaping our region and making it a better place for everyone.
Of course there are other enclosed beds, and there are other portable beds. But in contrast to sterile looking medical beds or flimsy tent beds, no other product combines all of the features like The Safety SleeperTM does.
The Safety SleeperTM is
– easily assembled/disassembled (no
– and provides a fun and friendy safe zone for kids and adults of all ages.