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Arnela PASALIC1,

1Center “Vladimir Nazor”, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
2University of Sarajevo, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Received: 09-June-2021
Revised: 04-July-2021
Accepted: 10-July-2021
Online first: 11-July-2021


Introduction: Sleep is one of the most important components of overall health. Children with developmental disabilities are at a higher risk of having sleep problems.

Purpose: The goal of the present study is to compare sleep patterns of children with developmental disabilities with those of typically developing children. In particular, we examined whether children with an intellectual disability (ID), children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and typically developing children differ in sleep duration, number of night’s waking, screen time (time spent on smartphones, tablets, TV), and outdoor activities.

Methods: The sample for this study consisted of 114 children (34 children with ASD, 40 children with ID and 40 typically developing children) aged 2 to 14 years (mean age= 6.4 years, SD = 3.0). Information on children’s sleep patterns was obtained through an online survey completed by the parents of the children. We also collected information regarding the strategies parents use to settle their children for sleep, as well as information regarding screen time and outdoor activities.

Results: The results of this study indicate that sleep duration was shortest for children with ID and longest for children without developmental disabilities. Another finding in this study is that screen time and not the outdoor activities was associated with sleep duration. Children with ASD were more likely to use melatonin to fall asleep, while the children with ID were more likely to use medications.

Conclusion: Children with ID have shorter sleep duration than children with ASD and typically developing children. Parents have several cognitive and behavioural strategies at their disposal to improve their children’s sleep.


Key words: sleep, children with intellectual disability, children with autism spectrum disorder, health


Citation: Saletovic, A., Pasalic, A., Memisevic, H. Sleeping Patterns in Children with Developmental Disabilities. Journal for ReAttach Therapy and Developmental Diversities. 2021 Oct 25; 4(1): 28-38.

Copyright ©2021 Saletovic, A., Pasalic, A., Memisevic, H. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Corresponding address:
University of Sarajevo

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