New Study Says Parents of Kids With Autism and Behavioral Issues Should Check for This

A new study reveals findings that may have implications for parents of children with autism displaying behavioral issues.

The study, published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, indicates sleep disturbance is associated with behavioral problems among children with ASD. Researchers found that kids on the spectrum who didn’t sleep well at night displayed more behavioral issues during the day,

To get these results, scientists studied the sleep habits 81 children on the spectrum. Sleep problems were significantly associated with physical aggression, irritability, inattention and hyperactivity. Researchers noted that night awakenings had the most consistently strong association with daytime behavior problems, even after controlling for the effects of age and sex.

Though it’s unclear what exactly is driving sleep challenges in those with autism, the findings reiterate the need to consider sleep habits when evaluating behavior, Disability Scoop reported.

“If parents are noticing that their children are having behavioral problems, it may be helpful to make sure they are sleeping well at night,” said Micah Mazurek, an assistant professor of health psychology at the University of Missouri and an author of the study. “For all children with ASD, it is important that parents and professionals routinely screen for sleep problems. Addressing these issues will help children be at their best during the day.”

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