The Use of Functional Behavioural Assessment to Plan Effective Treatments for Sleep Disturbance in Children with ASD

Recent estimates suggest that 32-71% of children with ASD experience some form of sleep disturbance (Deliens et al., 2015).

This can include issues associated with delayed sleep onset latency, frequent and prolonged night-wakings, and early morning awakenings.

Sleep disruption and deprivation can have a profound impact on the daytime functioning of children with ASD, as well as parent and child well-being.

Functional Behaviour Assessment (FBA) is an evidence-based approach that is frequently used to inform the treatment of challenging behaviour in children with ASD however, to date, few research studies have investigated the use of FBA  in the treatment of  sleep disturbance in children with autism. In the treatment of sleep disturbance, where multiple complex variables can influence outcomes, strong connections between assessment and treatment are necessary.

This presentation will provide data that evaluates: (1) the effects of parent-implemented FBA-based interventions for sleep disturbance, in children with autism spectrum disorder; (2) the maintenance of treatment effects over time; (3) the secondary effects of improved sleep outcomes on parent and child well-being; and (4) parents experiences with the treatment process.  

The clinical implications of these research findings, and future research directions will be discussed.