By Denise Reynolds RD for eMaxHealth.com
Many children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have difficulty with sleep which is stressful for both the children and their parents. Sleep experts with The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center have created a resource for families struggling with this issue for the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN), a network of hospitals, physicians, researchers and families across the United States and Canada.
Sleep disorders affect between 40 and 80 percent of children with autism. The biggest sleep issues include difficulty falling asleep, restlessness or poor sleep quality, and waking early. Researchers do not exactly know why this occurs, but do have some theories.
First, normally developing children often know when it is time to go to sleep because of the normal “light and dark” cycles and the body’s circadian rhythms. But they also use social clues, which children with autism may fail to understand or misinterpret.
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