Dalhousie University & IWK Health Centre Research Study: Sleep and autism: Treatment barriers and facilitators

Guest post from Dalhousie University and the IWK Health Centre

Research Study: Sleep and autism: Treatment barriers and facilitators

Did you know:

* Between 50 – 70% of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) experience insomnia (e.g., trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep)?

* Behavioural interventions are highly effective in treating these problems?

* Many parents of children with ASD believe their children’s sleep problems are intrinsic and not treatable?

* Very few of children with ASD who have behavioural sleep problems receive evidence-based care?

We are currently recruiting family physicians, paediatricians, paediatric subspecialists, neurologists, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, nurses, social workers, and occupational therapists to participate in an online study conducted through the IWK Health Centre and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The purpose of our study is to explore facilitators and barriers to health care professionals’ access to and provision of evidence-based treatment for behavioural sleep problems in children with ASD. Results of our study will inform the development of a web-based intervention for families and professional training materials for treating behavioural sleep problems in children with ASD.

The study will consist of completing online questionnaires, followed by scheduled participation in online, regional video-focus groups. Participation should take no more than 2 hours of your time (questionnaires + 1.5 h focus group session). Eligible participants will be entered into a draw to win a $50 gift certificate for www.amazon.ca. They will also receive resources on treating sleep problems in children with ASD, including a video presentation by our research team. 

Focus groups will take place between Sept. 19 – Oct. 4 and be scheduled using an online scheduling tool (e.g., Doodle poll).

You do not have to be a sleep expert or an ASD expert to participate in this study! If your patients’ parents have ever asked you about behavioural sleep problems in children with ASD, or if you have ever been consulted about this topic, then we are interested in learning from you.

Find out whether you are eligible to participate! We ask that you complete a short screening questionnaire to determine whether you are eligible to participate or not, at this link:


We look forward to hearing from you about this important topic!

This study is being conducted by Kim Tan-MacNeill (Dalhousie University) as part of her PhD dissertation research, supervised by Dr. Penny Corkum (Dalhousie University LABS), and Dr. Isabel Smith (IWK Autism Research Centre). This study has been approved by the IWK Research Ethics Board (#1018556). If you would like more information or a copy of the ethics approval, please contact Kim Tan-MacNeill by email at k.tanmacneill@dal.ca 

PDF of text and poster HERE

Ann Watkins1 Comment