How To Get Baby To Sleep On Own
Children with a Disability
Many children who have a disability also have problems sleeping. But there’s no simple reason. A few children with a disability fit into no recognizable sleep pattern. For example, severely braindamaged children may not have sleep cycles and children who have less severe brain damage may shift quickly and unpredictably from one sleep state to another.
Children with Down’s syndrome tend to have more sleep problems caused by breathing
difficulties and to be more restless at night, kicking off the bedclothes and getting cold. And because a child with Down’s syndrome is less able to regulate his body temperature effectively, this can be dangerous (see page 33 on safe sleeping and page 80 on practical tips.)
Often, however, babies with disabilities have problems sleeping because they are unable to pick up sleep cues or to relax enough to be able to sleep.
So for autistic children and children with severe learning difficulties who tend to have difficulty settling, to wake in the night and also to wake early, for deaf children who take twice as long to fall asleep as children who can hear and for blind children who sleep less well than their sighted peers, a plan that emphasizes sleep cues may be appropriate (see Chapter 11 for details about behaviour management plans).