Behavioral Sleep Intervention for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder: a Pilot Study
Objectives Sleep disturbances are a significant problem for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) across the lifespan; however, there is a paucity of research examining effective sleep interventions for adolescents with ASD. Although research has demonstrated individuals with ASD can be meaningfully engaged in their own intervention process, such engagement has not appeared in previous studies targeting sleep in adolescents with ASD. Methods This study investigated the feasibility of including pre-adolescents and adolescents (ages 9 to 14 years) with ASD as active intervention agents within comprehensive, individualized treatments for sleep problems. Participants had a range of intellectual functioning but all produced spoken language. Outcomes were evaluated using single-case designs. Results Data suggest intervention was effective in eliminating sleep disturbance for all participants. Improvements were maintained during 18- to 24-month follow-up. All three participants and their parents indicated a high degree of treatment satisfaction. Conclusions Findings illustrate the feasibility and potential benefit of including adolescents with ASD in the process of developing and implementing individualized behavioral interventions for sleep problems.