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Daytime sleep patterns in preschool children with autism, developmental delay, and typical development

Posted Mar 09 2011 8:00pm

I’ve read a lot of discussions of sleep issues with young autistic children. A recent paper from U.C. Davis discusses this, but from a slightly different angle than I’ve seen before.

The sleep paper I find interesting in that it focuses on daytime sleep patterns: napping. My recollection is that most discussions focus on night time sleeping—as in, “my kid doesn’t sleep!”. It is interesting to think that daytime sleep patterns might be different as well:

Daytime sleep patterns in preschool children with autism, developmental delay, and typical development.

Schwichtenberg AJ, Iosif AM, Goodlin-Jones B, Tang K, Anders T.

University of California, Davis.
Abstract

Abstract The present study examined daytime sleep patterns in 3 groups of preschool-aged children: children with autism, children with developmental delay, and children who were developing typically. Sleep was assessed in 194 children via actigraphy and parent-report sleep diaries for 7 consecutive days on 3 separate occasions over 6 months. Children with autism napped less often and for shorter periods of time than children with developmental disability, with whom they were matched on chronologic age. Children with developmental disabilities napped more like children in the typically developing group, who were, on average, 6 months younger. Each group displayed an expected shift in daytime sleep as more children matured out of their naps.

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