All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Fred J Biasini

Advisory Committee Members

Burel R Goodin

Maria I Hopkins

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2018

Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disability characterized by impairments in social communication and restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Children with autism may also have associated symptoms; one of the most prevalent being sleep disorders, with estimated prevalence rates ranging from 40 to 80% (Goldman, McGrew, Johnson, Richdale, Clemons, & Malow, 2011). Measuring sleep disturbances in this population can be particularly challenging due to the symptoms of the disorder, including impairments in communication. Therefore, research in this field regularly relies on parent-report data to measure sleep disturbances in children with ASD. However, researchers have noted the discrepancy between parental report of sleep disturbances and actigraphy measures (Richdale & Schreck, 2009). The current study measured the reliability of parent report measures compared to actigraphy measures, assessed the relationship between behavioral functioning and sleep quality, and identified specific patterns of behavior that may contribute to good or poor sleep, through case study analysis. Findings show that consistency in bedtime behavior across the monitoring period was associated with high sleep efficiency scores and healthier sleep habits and may be more indicative of sleep efficiency than specific behavioral measures. Further analysis into the implementation of a standardized bedtime routine for children with ASD is warranted to assess the effects of consistent bedtime behavior on sleep efficiency in children with ASD and how they compare to their typically developing peers.

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