The amount of research conducted on sleep in children and adolescents has increased dramatically over the past decade due to the recognition that many children have significant sleep problems leading to daytime dysfunction. Approximately one third of typically developing children have sleep difficulties at some point, and a similar percentage of adolescents have impaired or insufficient sleep leading to daytime impairments. Sleep problems are known to occur at even greater rates in children with special needs, such as those with developmental disabilities, psychiatric conditions, and medical illnesses. The recognition that interventions can improve sleep and may result in better daytime functioning has fueled a growing interest in more fully characterizing the sleep problems in children with special needs. This article presents a discussion of the sleep problems experienced by children with one particular group of developmental disorders - the autism spectrum disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas