*Currently Recruiting*

Objective: To examine the role of sleep/wake problems in brain and behavioral development in school-aged children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Background: Sleep/wake problems are highly prevalent in children and adolescents with ASD compared to typically developing children (TD). These sleep difficulties are likely to be highly impactful, as there is overwhelming evidence for detrimental effects of sleep dysfunction on development of a wide range of behavioral, cognitive, and adaptive functions. Evidence across multiple studies suggest higher prevalence of disturbed sleep in children with ASD. Regarding specific sleep problems, difficulty falling asleep has been consistently reported by parent’s questionnaire assessment and sleep diaries. Studies also reported more frequent night wakings in children with ASD than in TD children, longer wake bouts and greater daytime sleepiness. Shorter sleep duration has also been reported in ASD though findings concerning sleep duration have been inconsistent, with some studies reporting no observed differences in duration between children with ASD and TD children. Likewise, findings concerning sleep-disordered breathing have also been inconsistent with most studies relying on parent-report measures that differ across studies; conflicting results in sleep duration and sleep disordered breathing might be due in part to differences in the measurement tools used to characterize sleep and in the subjective nature of parent report.