Sleep habits of youngsters with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic: A Parent survey

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Clin Ter. 2022 Feb 7;173(1):88-90. doi: 10.7417/CT.2022.2398.

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a group of neurodevelopmental conditions characterized by social interaction and communication and restricted, repetitive interests and behaviors (1). It is very common for children with ASD to present with several comorbidities, including sleep disorders. During the Covid-19 pandemic, children with ASD have been particularly at risk of adverse effects because of their difficulties in adapting to changes in habits and routines.

METHODS AND AIM: Therefore, the aim of our study was to investigate sleep habits during the Covid-19 pandemic by administering the Child Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSHQ) to parents.

RESULTS: Twenty-five children of 28 (89.3%) had a score above 41 during the pandemic. Of these, 11 children also had clinically significant scores before the pandemic.

DISCUSSION: Our data confirm that sleep disturbances have been very common in autistic children during the Covid-19 pandemic and suggest new considerations. In particular, in our clinical sample, sleep habits seemed to improve or not change significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic in a population with a high prevalence of clinically significant sleep disturbances. These data confirm that in this particular context, a supportive environment (family, parent training, tele-rehabilitation) is very important for autistic people and a predictable routine can help prevent stress, anxiety, and behavioral problems.

PMID:35147653 | DOI:10.7417/CT.2022.2398

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