Volume 5, Issue 4 (Winter 2011)
Sleep Disorder Symptoms in Children With Low-Functioning Autism
By Joseph M. Mahoney & Linda C. Caterino
ABSTRACT: Although there is evidence that children with low-functioning autism experience sleep disturbance at a higher rate than typically developing peers, there is inconsistency in the results of previous research. The identification of specific sleep problems experienced more often by children with autism may lead to greater accuracy of diagnosis and treatment. The present study assessed sleep disorder symptoms in affected children and typically developing controls while addressing methodological issues in the existing literature. Parents completed a norm-referenced measure of sleep disorder symptoms. Children with autism scored significantly higher than matched typically developing children on symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder, and sleep disorder symptoms in general. A moderate correlation was also found between sleep disorder symptoms and module 1 of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Generic.