A randomised controlled trial of cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia in children on the autism spectrum
DR Michelle Short
Improving children’s mental health and the impact of developmental disorders.
Children with autism experience a markedly higher prevalence of sleep problems than their peers (78% versus 26%), predominantly, insomnia (Couturier et al., 2005). Thus, research into sleep problems is a core recommendation in NICE autism guidelines for children. This research will be a world-first clinical randomized controlled trial testing the efficacy of the gold standard insomnia treatment, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for insomnia (CBTi) including sleep restriction in children with autism. Autistic children with co-occurring insomnia have significantly worse outcomes than those without. Untreated, insomnia frequently has a chronic course, impacting school, family, social, mental health and vocational outcomes.