Approximately one-third of typically developing children experience some type of sleep disturbance. In children with intellectual and developmental disorders, the prevalence is believed to be even higher, although the exact figure is unknown. Sleep disorders in this special population are particularly difficult to diagnose and are thought to be underreported because these children are often preverbal (i.e., have not yet developed language skills) or nonverbal (i.e., have impaired or no language skills). Therefore, parents and even health care providers are often unaware that these children are experiencing sleep deprivation.

One common intellectual and developmental condition in children is autism spectrum disorder. This is a neurologic condition characterized by impaired communication and language skills, abnormal social interactions, repetitive and ritualistic behaviors, and misperception of the day-night and ...

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