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Sleep in Children with Autism

January 1, 2023 - December 30, 2025

Six-to-ten year old children with autism spectrum disorders are invited to participate in a fun study, which involves wearing an actigraphy watch for two weeks (to estimate the quality and other characteristics of the child’s sleep) and participation in one MRI session at SDSU Imaging Center. Both children and parents are asked to keep sleep diaries for the two weeks when the child is wearing the actigraphy watch. Finally, children are asked to take part in a brief cognitive testing session. The study aims to understand the links between sleep (problems) and brain development in children with autism.

What are the goals of the study?

This study aims to understand potential mechanisms underlying sleep disturbances in autism.

What will happen during the visit or online?

Children will be asked to wear an actigraphy watch for two weeks, keep sleep diaries, take part in one MRI scan, and complete a brief behavioral assessment session.

How will this help families?

Sleep problems affect 50-80% of individuals with autism and can have cascading effects on development, everyday function, and quality of life. However, the mechanisms underlying sleep disturbances in ASD are not understood. A better insight into the potential mechanisms of sleep disturbances in autism may ultimately help with developing new treatments targeting sleep in children with autism.

Eligibility Criteria

Children between 6 and 10 years of age with a diagnosis of ASD are eligible to participate in the study. Typically developing children in the same age range are also invited to participate.

Contact Information
Research Study Website
San Diego State University (SDSU) Center for Autism

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