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Sleep Difficulties and Autism Spectrum Disorders A Guide for Parents and Professionals

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Book - Sleep Difficulties and Autism Spectrum Disorders A Guide for Parents and Professionals

by: Kenneth J. Aitken

About the author:

Kenneth J. Aitken is a practising clinical psychologist based in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is active among many charitable organisations and research initiatives dedicated to building a better understanding of autism spectrum disorders and related conditions. Kenneth has published numerous academic and popular articles on ASD.

ISBN: 978-1-84905-259-7

Year: 2012

Publication Info: 320pp


Problems with sleeping are common and make life difficult for the individual who is affected and for those around them. Sleep difficulties are particularly prevalent amongst people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and often cause or worsen other difficulties.

This comprehensive guide to the management of sleep problems, introduces all the proven remedies and focuses on the problems commonly found in ASDs and related conditions. The author discusses sleep in depth, including how we currently define and understand it. The full spectrum of sleep disorders is explained alongside the range of possible treatment approaches. The book also examines why some sleep problems are more common among people with an ASD than others, how sleep problems evolve over time, what can be done to treat them and the likely benefits from different treatments.

This book is a complete resource for professionals, families and carers working with those suffering from sleep problems of any kind. It will be of great interest to anyone wanting to gain a thorough understanding of sleep in relation to ASDs.



Acknowledgements. Introduction. Section A: Sleep and What We Know About It. Chronobiology. What are Biological Clocks? What is Sleep? Why Do We Sleep? Dreaming. What Changes Occur during Sleep that don’t Occur at Other Times? Do Circadian Patterns Emerge as we Develop? The Brain at Rest. Is our Sleep Affected by What We Eat? Alcohol Consumption. Diet, Genetics and Brain Development. Social Interaction and Sleep. Infant Self-Soothing. Other factors that can affect sleep. How much sleep is normal? Do we need to sleep at all? What do we know about the normal range of sleep in childhood? What do we know about normal patterns of sleep? Section B: Sleep Problems in General. How sleep problems are classified. How common are sleep problems? Is it important that sleep problems are addressed? The Importance of Adequate Sleep for Brain Development. Section C: Sleep Problems in ASD. How common are sleep problems in ASD? Is it important to address sleep problems in ASD? Are there reasons why sleep problems should be more likely in ASD? Section D: Reasons Sleep Problems May Happen or Can be Made Worse. Maternal mood state and biology. The Neurobiology of Sleep. Diet, sleep and ASD. Metabolic and physiological factors that can be related to disordered sleep. Other factors that can influence sleep. Effects of sleep deprivation on brain growth and structure. CNS trauma. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Craniofacial Dysmorphogenesis. Obesity. Genetic Factors. Other genetic factors. Section E What Can You Do? Interventions – assessing the evidence. Treatment and management. Assessing the issues and doing a basic sleep clean up. General approaches to sorting out sleep. Specific types of sleep problem – what they are and what can work to sort them out. Conclusion. Resources. Useful web material. Associations and web resources. Test and treatment materials. Appendix 1 Medications Used in Sleep Disorders. What Are These Medications and How do they Work? Further General Sources of Information on Medication. Appendix 2 Complementary and Alternative Treatment Approaches. Acupuncture. Aromatherapy. Chiropractics. Dietary intervention. Exercise. Homeopathy. Hypnosis. Massage therapy. Meditation. Psychotherapy. Relaxation. Light therapy. Biofeedback. Behavioural and cognitive-behavioural treatments. Yoga. Appendix 3 Herbal Treatments. Western herbal treatments. Chinese herbal treatments. Japanese Kampo herbal treatments. Other herbal treatments. Appendix 4 Assessment Tools for Sleep Problems. Glossary. Further reading. Basic books on sleep and sleep disorders. Textbooks on sleep and related issues. References. Index.



Ken Aitken has done a remarkable job in providing a scholarly and comprehensive overview of this important but neglected topic. He offers valuable insights into the potential nature of the sleep problems associated with autism, an encyclopaedic listing of potential interventions and some useful tools to help with assessment. His careful detailing of the evidence base makes this a vital resource for any modern practitioner.


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