Running head: AUTISM AND SLEEP
AUTISM AND SLEEP
Autism and Sleep
ENG 255 Athabasca University
Due Date: Friday January 25th 2019
An analysis of current research was conducted to examine how sleep disturbances negatively affect the day-to-day life of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Sleep problems were found to be associated with increased family, behavioural, and educational challenges. These findings suggest that further research needs to be conducted, to find effective interventions for families, to implement in order to reduce challenges related to sleep disturbances.
Sleep and Autism
Different people require different amounts of sleep. Sleep is defined as a natural episodic state of unconscious rest for both the body and mind (Farlex Inc, 2011). Sleep is an essential part of everyday life; without sleep an individual cannot function. Both cognitive and physical capabilities are largely dependent on adequate sleep. Sleep patterns influence humans’ physical size, muscle mass, brain size, and the ability to think. Sleep disorders are a group of syndromes characterized through disturbances in the individual’s quantity, quality, and timing of rest, or in behaviours and physiological conditions linked with sleep (Farlex Inc, 2011). According to Paavonen et al. (2007) the sleep-wake sequence can without a doubt be interrupted in any child. However, children who have neurological and psychiatric disabilities or disorders seem to be especially prone to a variety of sleep disturbances. Autism is a neurological disorder that affects an individual’s development. It is a spectrum disorder, meaning there are various forms, and a full range of characteristics from mild to severe. Autism is diagnosed based on the triad of impairments in areas of communication, social skills and behaviour according to the American Psychiatric Association [APA] (as cited in Liu, Hubbard, Fabes & Adam, 2006). Even though the diagnostic criterion used does not include sleep disturbances, there is an apparent correlation between autism and difficulty sleeping according to the APA (as cited in Hoffman et al., 2006). Richdale (as cited in Liu et al., 2006) mentions how researchers account that approximately two-thirds of children who have autism display sleep troubles. Many parents report sleep disturbances as a problem in their children with autism. Presently, there is some uncertainty in regards to what constitutes a sleep problem in relation to autism. As such, Hering et al; Richdale and Prior; and Taria et al. (as cited in Oyane & Bjorvatn, 2005) have noted that anywhere from 44% to 83% of persons with autism experience some sleep difficulties. According to Kerr and Jowett (as cited in Weiskop, Matthews & Richdale, 2001) sleep problems may include: refusing to go to bed, getting out of bed, tantrums at bed-time, early waking, co-sleeping and hyperactivity at night. Of course, not every child that has autism will be affect by sleep...