Difficulties with a variety of self-regulatory and adaptive skills are common among children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and related developmental disabilities. The emphasis of the Behavioral Sleep Clinic is the treatment of sleep difficulties that are not medically-related. Treatment incorporates behavioral assessment, intervention planning, and family training to ameliorate existing difficulties and establish adaptive sleep-related skills.
Common problems include:
- Falling asleep independently
- Sleeping through the night independently
- Staying in his/her own bed all night
- Sleep schedule problems (sleeping at the wrong times, inconsistent sleep patterns)
- Challenging behavior associated with sleep routines
- As well as co-occurring problems such as nightmares, sleep terrors, sleep walking
Prior to the initial evaluation session, families complete intake forms and questionnaires and collect data across two weeks on the child’s behavior. These tools render information on:
- Daily routines
- Bedtime behavior
- Sleep patterns
- Medication/Supplement use
- Sleep locations
- Environmental influences on sleep
- Challenging behavior
After the initial home-based data collection, families participate in a clinical interview to complete the initial evaluation and being planning for sleep interventions.
Following the initial evaluation session, families work with Sleep Clinic staff to develop a home-based Sleep Behavior Intervention Plan (S-BSP). At all stages the Sleep Clinic team emphasizes:
- Functional skill development that will support your child’s independence
- Developing interventions that are safe and effective and that will work well within the family system
- Establishing a safe and responsive sleep environment within the home
- Systematically modifying strategies based on your child’s individual needs
- Objective decision making based on actual performance
During sleep treatment sessions families are provided with specific training on all intervention components and work continually with Sleep Clinic staff to develop intervention strategies that are functional within their homes. Ongoing support is provided to help families respond proactively to challenges in a positive and successful fashion. As acute problems remit, the Sleep Clinic team works with families to ensure functional skill development with all aspects of sleep-related behavior and to fade intervention components to support full independence.
Kristen D’Eramo, Ph.D.
Mark Palmieri, Psy.D., BCBA-D
Adrianna Zambrzyckam, LCSW, BCBA