Assessment of sleep problems and related risk factors observed in Turkish children with Autism spectrum disorders

Tuba Mutluer, Sevcan Karakoc Demirkaya, Osman Abali
Autism Research: Official Journal of the International Society for Autism Research 2016, 9 (5): 536-42
Sleep problems are common and difficult to manage in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Another major adverse impact of sleep problems is that they exacerbate behavioral problems. To assess sleep problems and possible behavioral risk factors in detail, we aimed to compare sleep habits of children with ASD, with healthy children. The relationship between sleep difficulties and concomitant behavioral problems such as repetitive behaviors, hyperactivity, and social withdrawal were also examined. Hundred and seventeen children and adolescents including 64 with the diagnosis of ASD and 53 healthy subjects were enrolled in the study. Diagnostic Interview for ASD was performed according to DSM-IV-TR. Socio-demographical data form and childhood autism rating scale were filled by researchers. Aberrant behavior checklist (ABC), child behavior checklist and pediatric sleep questionnaire (PSQ) were completed by the parents of the children. Children with ASD had higher frequency of sleep problems, snoring, breathing problems, behavioral problems compared with healthy children (for all parameters; P < 0.001). A positive correlation was identified between the total score of PSQ and the total score of ABC (P < 0.05, Spearman correlation coefficient: 0.347). Sleep latency was prolonged in children with ASD compared with healthy subjects (P < 0.001). In accordance with the current literature, children with ASD were subject to sleep problems significantly more than the control group. Identified risk factors for sleep problems in ASD children were behavioral factors such as stereotypies, self-mutilation, hyperactivity, and social withdrawal. Autism Res 2016, 9: 536-542. © 2015 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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