J Child Neurol. 2009 Jun 1.

Parent-Based Sleep Education Workshops in Autism.


Reed HE, McGrew SG, Artibee K, Surdkya K, Goldman SE, Frank K, Wang L, Malow BA.

To determine if parents can successfully teach their children with autism spectrum disorders to become better sleepers, we piloted small group parent education workshops focused on behavioral sleep strategies. Workshops consisted of three 2-hour sessions conducted over consecutive weeks by 2 physicians. Curricula included establishing effective daytime and nighttime habits, initiating a bedtime routine, and optimizing parental interactions at bedtime and during night wakings. Baseline and treatment questionnaires and actigraphy were analyzed in 20 children, ages 3 to 10 years. Improvements after treatment were seen in the total scale and several insomnia-related subscales of the Children's Sleep Habits Questionnaire. Actigraphy documented reduced sleep latency in children presenting with sleep onset delay. Improvements were also noted in measures of sleep habits and daytime behavior. Brief parent-based behavioral sleep workshops in children with autism spectrum disorders appear effective in improving subjective and objective measures of sleep, sleep habits, and daytime behavior.

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