A new toolkit has been developed by Vanderbilt Kennedy Center which may improve sleep for children and teens with autism spectrum disorders.
This new toolkit, titled "Sleep Strategies for Children with
Autism: A Parent's Guide," offers strategies to help families whose children affected
by autism have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep through the night.
Beth Malow, M.D., M.S., Burry Chair in Cognitive Childhood
Development and co-developer of the sleep guide, says that sleep is a common
struggle for many children with autism. This new sleep guide can help families
select ideas that have the best potential to work well with their lifestyle.
Developers of the guide say that with consistent routines and persistent
effort, families often see changes in their child's sleep patterns over several
"My colleagues and I are excited about having the
opportunity to develop this parent toolkit for sleep and are appreciative to
Autism Speaks for disseminating it to families in need of this information,"
Malow said. "Sleep problems in children with autism can be overwhelming for
families, and we hope that this information makes a difference in their
A professor of Neurology and Pediatrics and Vanderbilt
Kennedy Center Investigator, Malow is an expert on the interface of sleep and
neurological disorders and directs the Vanderbilt Sleep Division. She developed
the sleep strategies guide with colleague Kim Frank, M.Ed., educational
consultant for the Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum
Disorders(TRIAD) at the Vanderbilt
and experts from the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN) and the Autism
Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P).
has developed other toolkits with Autism Speaks, including "Taking the Work Out
of Blood Work" and "Visual Supports and Autism Spectrum Disorder." These and
other resources are available on the Autism Speaks website.