Sleep and Children with Intellectual Disabilities

Children diagnosed with intellectual disabilities (ID,) particularly those with features of autism, often can experience difficulty maintaining a normal sleep schedule, according to the website BioMed Central. Sleep disruption also might cause additional attention and learning problems for the child and disrupt the entire family.  

Sleep problems in children with ID may not fit the common sleep disruption patterns seen in typically developing children and they might be difficult to manage. One way to address these issues is for a parent or caregiver to keep a sleep record for the child for one to several weeks. The National Sleep Foundation offers a printable sleep “diary” that can be downloaded online at Sleep Diary

If a child with ID has difficulty sleeping, the healthcare provider may look for signs and symptoms of underlying medical problems, such as reflux or obstructive sleep apnea. A sleep study might lead to a diagnosis of seizures or restless leg syndrome, which have potential treatments. Treatments such as melatonin or sleep medications, sleep hygiene methods and breathing devices might be helpful. 

For more information, go to BioMed Central Portal

*Disclaimer: Any health and wellness content presented is for general informational purposes only. Such content is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.