Researchers at Deakin University are seeking primary school aged children with intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to participate in a sleep study.
The research team at Sleeping Sound Special Needs will investigate whether their brief treatment program improves sleep problems, as well as wellbeing and daily function in children aged between 6 and 13 years old.
To participate, children must be within the age requirement, live in Victoria, have confirmed diagnoses of both ASD and intellectual disability and experience sleeping difficulties.
Senior Research Fellow in the Deakin Child Study Centre at Deakin University and Clinical Psychologist, Dr Nicole Papadopoulos hopes the study will improve the quality of life and daily functioning of children with ASD and intellectual disability who experience sleep difficulties.
“We know that sleep problems are really common in young children with ASD including difficulty falling asleep, resisting going to bed and being tired in the morning.
“Treating sleep problems in children with ASD is associated with marked improvements in functioning and also improvements in ASD symptoms,” she says.
Dr Papadopoulos says to date, sleep interventions have largely focused on children with ASD who do not have an intellectual disability.
The Sleeping Sound team ran a small pilot study in 2013, looking at whether a sleep program improved sleep and wellbeing in children with ASD, with a 2-3 session sleep program revealing great results.
Now turning their sights to both ASD and intellectual disability following the introduction of the Sleeping Sound Special Needs team in 2016, Dr Papadopoulos says the sleep program should positively benefit Australian children with both disabilities.
“The development of such a program will represent a major breakthrough for children with an intellectual disability and ASD.”
Expressions of interest for the sleep study can be made here, with registrations closing end of April.