By Emma Baker, PhD Candidate
(Supervisor: Associate Professor Amanda Richdale)
There is an abundance of literature that shows children on the autism spectrum experience a significantly high rate of sleep problems, primarily insomnia symptoms, in comparison to children generally and children with other developmental disorders. However, there is much less research that has assessed sleep problems in adults on the spectrum. Our knowledge of the causes of sleep problems in ASD is also very limited. Therefore, my PhD research aimed to explore the types of sleep problems experienced by adults with autism as well as exploring their potential causes. Thirty-six adults with a diagnosis of ASD and no intellectual impairment (21-44 years) and a comparison group of 54 neurotypical (NT) adults (22 to 43 years) took part in my study. While no-one in the comparison group had a diagnosed mental health problem 15 adults on the spectrum were medicated for a comorbid diagnosis of anxiety/depression. Participants completed various sleep questionnaires, a 14-day sleep-wake diary, 14-day actigraphy assessment (objectively measures sleep) and provided seven saliva samples. Continue reading
OTARC hosted two events as part of our commitment to disseminate our research findings to the community. These sessions are held every two years and consist of research presentations and lengthy Q&A opportunities.