- To validate self-and/or proxy-reported sleep duration and sleep quality of children with disabilities (e.g., autism, ADHD) and their primary caregivers using objective measures of sleep (ActiSleep monitor);
- To assess the prevalence of short sleep and sleep disorders and the relationships between sleep traits and cardiometabolic and psychological health among children with disabilities and their caregivers;
- To assess knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions about children’s sleep among caregivers, health care providers, and special education providers of children with disabilities.
Healthy sleep habits and routines are critical for all children, but may be even more critical in children with health conditions due to the underlying disease mechanisms and comorbidities. Increasing but limited studies have reported sleep disorders among children with health conditions such as autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and Down Syndrome. The extent of undiagnosed sleep disorders among children, particularly those with special health care needs (disabilities), may be as great as or even greater than among adults. The lack of sleep-related knowledge among parents and other caregivers and health care/special education providers may also increase the prevalence of unrecognized/undiagnosed sleep disorders in children, especially among those with disabilities.
Study Design and Setting
In this mixed-methods (quantitative and qualitative data collection) study, the following information are collected: (a) interviewer-administered questionnaires are used to obtain information about sociodemographic characteristics, health behaviors, and psychological health among children with disabilities and their primary caregivers, (b) ActiSleep monitors are used to objectively measure sleep and physical activity parameters among children with disabilities and their primary caregivers (7-day attachment), (c) physical examinations are conducted to collect anthropometric and blood pressure measurements for children with disabilities and their primary caregivers, and (d) focus group discussions are held to understand knowledge, beliefs, and perceptions about children’s sleep among caregivers, health care providers, and special education providers who take care of children with disabilities.
Dr. Michelle Williams, Principal Investigator
Dr. Xiaoli Chen, Co-Investigator
Dr. Juan Carlos Velez, Co-Investigator
Dr. Clarita Barbosa, Co-Investigator
Dr. Bizu Gelaye, Co-Investigator
Ms. Micah Pepper, Research Coordinator