Having parents track their child’s sleep before, during, and after lifestyle or medication changes can help families and healthcare providers monitor effectiveness. This means that parents should record when their children go to bed, when they fall asleep, how many times and for how long they wake up in the middle of the night, and when they wake up in the morning.
Jeste says that while this is helpful and necessary, it is also necessary to develop ways to measure the impact of sleep issues on a child’s daytime functioning and behavior. Questionnaires can be helpful, but need to be adjusted for children with severe intellectual disabilities or difficulty communicating. Data from these sources could give providers more information about how they could better help their patients.
If you or a family you know is affected by autism or similar disorders, make sure that sleep is not overlooked. This is a part of life that we could all benefit from improving upon, and this is even more true for children with autism.