Graduation Date

Summer 8-18-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Programs

Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area

First Advisor

Brett R. Kuhn, Ph.D.

Abstract

As many as 82% of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) experience numerous chronic sleep-related problems and at a much higher frequency and severity than their typically developing peers. Behavioral treatments are considered best practice and first-line treatment to address sleep problems. These treatments tend to address one specific sleep-related behavior at a time. Bedtime Fading with Response Cost (BFRC) is a promising intervention that targets a multitude of sleep problems concurrently and has yet to be replicated by more than one investigative team in the home setting with children on the autism spectrum. This study evaluated the effectiveness of BFRC in decreasing sleep disturbances in children with ASD using parents as change agents by implementing treatment in the home environment. A non-concurrent multiple baseline design across three participants was used. Results indicate that BFRC was effective in eliminating unwanted co-sleeping, frequent night awakenings, and dependent sleep onset and reducing sleep onset latency, bedtime resistance, and disruptive sleep-related behaviors. Follow-up data demonstrate that gains were maintained. Parents reported high satisfaction with BFRC and sleep outcomes for their children. This study extends both the practice and science of parent-implemented behavioral interventions as treatment options for children with ASD and co-occurring sleep problems.

Available for download on Saturday, August 10, 2019

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