Aims and Objectives:
The current study examined long term relationships among sleep problems and other symptoms in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
The researchers used data from the ATN registry to look at whether common co-occurring symptoms may lead to or result from sleep problems in children with ASD. The study included 437 children with ASD. Researchers focused on sleep problems and other symptoms that are common in children with ASD and may be related to sleep problems. The researchers studied changes over time from baseline to follow up visits conducted an average of 3.8 years later.
Twenty-three percent of children had worsening sleep problems over time, while 31.5% showed improvement. Sleep problems at baseline predicted later development of ADHD symptoms in younger children. They also predicted bodily complaints like weakness or pain in older children. For younger children, being extra sensitive to touch, light, or sound, predicted future sleep problems.
Findings suggest that sensitivity to touch, light, or sound contribute to sleep problems in some children with ASD. Sleep problems may also result in poor daytime functioning.