Sleep Problems in Children With Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities: A Brief Report

Maria Valicenti-McDermott, Katharine Lawson, Kathryn Hottinger, Rosa Seijo, Merryl Schechtman, Lisa Shulman, Shlomo Shinnar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Sleep problems in children with autism and the association with child behavioral problems was studied in an ethnically diverse population, in a cross-sectional study with structured interview. Sample included 50 families of children with autism and 50 families of children with other developmental disabilities, matched by age/gender. Interview included Child Sleep Habits Questionnaire and Aberrant Behavior Checklist. In this ethnically diverse sample, at least 78% of families of children with autism reported significant sleep problems compared to 34% of families of children with other developmental disabilities. Specifically, children with autism reported more frequent bedtime resistance, sleep anxiety, and night wakings than children with other developmental disabilities. Across groups, sleep problems were related to child behavioral difficulties, including irritability and hyperactivity, although this association did not reach significance for the group with autism. Specifics in terms of the nature of sleep disorders will help our understanding and design of effective treatment options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-393
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of child neurology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019



  • autism spectrum disorder
  • children
  • developmental disabilities
  • irritability
  • sleep problems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology

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