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Sleep Disorders and Children with Special Needs

Sleeping is an important part of a child's life, from early infancy through adolescence. Babies born early or with a childhood disability are more likely to have sleep disorders related to breathing problems and physical challenges that can be quite serious.

There are resources to explore online if your child has symptoms of a sleep disorder like apnea, sleep-disordered breathing, nightmares; or other problems, including reflux, that change the quality or length of time of their sleep. Babies and toddlers with Down syndrome, as well as older children and teens, have a high incidence of both problems, and parents often report sleep disturbances and unexpected sleep habits.

There is a great deal of recent research into sleep disorders like snoring, sleep apnea, and other breathing problems during sleep in children that can affect health, development, and growth, as well as complicate existing conditions that already challenge children with special needs.

Experts at SleepEducation.com suggest that "children with frequent loud snoring, learning problems, or excessive daytime sleepiness are more likely to have sleep-disordered breathing." The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports studies that show "breathing problems during sleep may affect mental development in infants and young children."

Research has also shown links between insulin resistance and sleep disorders, sleep apnea and incidence of diabetes. Many children, who do not otherwise have special needs, may experience sleep disturbances or develop sleep problems temporarily while adapting to unexpected changes or after traumatic events. Some may be related to developmental stages, allergies, reactions to medications, or even something as simple as the timing of their vitamin supplements.

Browse at your public library, local bookstore or online retailer for products like: Sounds and Toys to help babies sleep, and books like: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

Preparing for Your Child's Sleep Study
http://www.massgeneral.org/children/assets/pdf/downsyndrome-osa-sleep-study.pdf

Down Syndrome

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: OSA in Children with Down Syndrome
http://www.massgeneral.org/children/assets/pdf/downsyndrome-osa.pdf

Down Syndrome Education Online
Overcoming sleep problems for children with Down syndrome
Amanda Wood and Ben Sacks
http://www.down-syndrome.org/reviews/320

Dr. Len Leshin, MD, FAAP - Down Syndrome Health articles
Obstructive Sleep Apnea and DS
Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER) and Down Syndrome

Riverbend Down Syndrome Resources
Sleep Disturbances in Down Syndrome
http://www.riverbendDS.org/sleepab.html

Does your child with Down syndrome need a sleep study?
http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/986521/sleep-studies-for-children-with-down-syndrome

Down Syndrome, Sleep Problems Linked
Research under way at the University of Arizona is revealing a connection between quality of sleep and the learning and memory functions in children with Down Syndrome.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1AzB6cmkPA

NDSS: Obstructive Sleep Apnea & Down Syndrome
http://www.ndss.org/Resources/Health-Care/Associated-Conditions/Obstructive-Sleep-Apnea--Down-Syndrome/

Sleep disorders and their clinical significance in children with Down syndrome
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22937986

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
http://www.aacap.org
Children's Sleep Problems
Nightmares and Disorders of Dreaming

American Sleep Apnea Association
http://www.sleepapnea.org

Stanford University
What is Sleep Apnea?
Childhood Sleep Apnea

Diabetes

Sleep Disordered Breathing, Insulin Resistance Linked
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment Shown to Improve Insulin Sensitivity

CancerLinks.com
Sleep Disorders and Issues with Cancer

Marker for Alzheimer's disease rises during day and falls with sleep
http://medicalxpress.com/news/2011-09-marker-alzheimer-disease-day-falls.html

Study: Sleep Affects Formation Of Myelin, Vital To Brain Growth And Repair
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/04/sleep-myelin-brain-growth-repair_n_3860316.html

Sleep 'boosts brain cell numbers'
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-23932577

Social Isolation Reduces Myelin Production: US study
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/253347.php

Cheating Ourselves of Sleep
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/17/cheating-ourselves-of-sleep

Down Wit Dat - Medical Appointments, A Sleep Study: What a Long Strange Trip It's Been
http://downwitdat.blogspot.com/2012/05/what-long-strange-trip-its-been.html

Diagnosing the Wrong Deficit
ADHD - or sleep deprivation?
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/opinion/sunday/diagnosing-the-wrong-deficit.html

Snoring Tots More Likely to Turn into Troubled Kids
http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/GeneralPediatrics/31477

Pediatric OT: To Sleep, Perchance to Dream
http://www.pediatricot.blogspot.com/2012/02/to-sleep-perchance-to-dream.html

Children and C-Pap: Adjusting to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
http://tinyurl.com/KidsCPAP
Adjusting to C-Pap
Adjusting to C-Pap

Managing How Babies Sleep
http://www.isisonline.org.uk/how_babies_sleep/sleep_training/

How Babies Sleep
http://www.imothering.com/talks/talks/

Sleep Training: A Review of Research
http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/sleep-training-review-of-research.html

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