Review recommends assessing sleep problems in early intervention programmes for children with developmental delays


The authors of this U.S. review set out to look at the evidence of the impact of sleep problems across the range of children screened for early intervention. Sleep disorders can have an impact on behaviour, cognition, and growth—which are the same areas that can be targeted by early intervention.

They point out that developmental delays and disabilities may also precipitate sleep disorders and that children with developmental delays experience sleep disorders at a higher rate than typically developing children with common types of sleep disorders found in this group being difficulties initiating or maintaining sleep and sleep disordered breathing.

They conclude that as eligibility evaluations for early intervention cover the five developmental domains: adaptive, motor, cognitive, communication, and socio-emotional, that assessing sleep problems within such evaluations could maximize developmental potential by ensuring timely identification, referral, and treatment

Sleep Problems and Early Developmental Delay: Implications for Early Intervention Programs, Bonnick K & Grant R, in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 50, 1, 41-52

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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