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Case StudySSPAnxietyAutismSleep

Increased sleep and daily energy levels for child with autism after the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)

🕑 3 minutes read
Posted September 26, 2023

About the Provider

Name: Annmarie Falk Skovgaard
Disciplines/credentials: Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) Provider, physiotherapist
Modalities: Physical therapy, sensory integration

Client Background

Name: Peter (pseudonym)
Age and Gender: 12-year-old boy
Program Delivered: Safe and Sound Protocol Core (Hours 1-5); Balance (Hours 1 and 2)

Peter presents with autism and is easily overstimulated by sensory input, tiring him out. This causes him to lack energy by the end of the school day and to become completely drained of energy by the end of the week. When he’s overloaded, he has trouble falling and staying asleep at night, often waking multiple times. He also has a history of stress and anxiety.

Peter lives with his parents and older sister. He was diagnosed with autism about a year ago and goes to a school for children with autism. Peter’s parents were looking to help provide him with more energy throughout the day. 

Implementation of the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)

The SSP was delivered remotely, mainly by Peter’s mother. They started by listening to 10-minute sessions every evening, and after the first hour increased the listening sessions to 15 minutes each. Peter listened to the SSP in bed with headphones on while his mother gave him a massage, put compression to his joints or held his hand. 

Peter also continued the supportive activities he was doing prior to the SSP. He goes to the gym, where he does strength training and proprioceptive stimulation, and has sensory breaks during the school day. He continues his nighttime routine, which includes massage, joint compression and a heavy blanket.


The first time that Peter listened to the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP), he described a feeling in his body, mainly in his stomach. He said “his body felt more quiet.” Almost immediately, he started sleeping better at night and after a couple of weeks, his increased sleep became consistent. 

At school, he had more energy, and after completing the five hours of the SSP, he was no longer drained of energy toward the end of the week as he used to be. His parents also noticed that he was even more positive, loving and caring toward family members.


“As a provider, it has been very rewarding to see how fast Peter responded to the treatment,” Annmarie said. His parents are pleased to see their son thrive at school and to know that he is getting the sleep he needs. His teachers have noticed that he is no longer as tired at the end of the day or week. 

The Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) was very easily incorporated into the family’s routine and wasn’t as demanding as many other treatments, which allowed them to complete the program as planned. 

“It was a pleasant routine for both Peter and his mom, and they agreed to continue with the Balance pathway a couple of times a week as a supplement to his night routine,” Annmarie added.

Discover the Safe and Sound Protocol

Developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, the SSP is a non-invasive acoustic vagus nerve stimulator that helps clients connect with themselves, others, and the world from a foundation of physiological safety.

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