Vanderbilt seeks families to participate in study of sleep in children with autism

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center is recruiting families of children with and without autism to participate in a study of the relationship between sleep patterns and behavior in children with autism.

Families of children with autism who are between the ages of 4 and 10 years, are seizure free and are currently not on psychotropic medications are needed, as are families of children without autism who meet these same parameters.

Families will be compensated for each completed study stage. One visit to the testing facility in Nashville will be required for the diagnostic visit, and a two-night stay in the Vanderbilt sleep laboratory will be required for those who qualify for that stage. Those who qualify will also be asked to complete survey questionnaires at various times and to participate in an evaluation of their autism diagnosis, if applicable, cognitive testing, home sleep study, in-patient sleep study and an assessment of the child’s melatonin level.

Disordered sleep is a common concern voiced by parents of children with autism spectrum disorders. The specific aims of this research are to determine the association of insomnia with problematic daytime behaviors, to assess the relationship between insomnia and sleep habits and to assess the relationship between insomnia and circadian function.

Dr. Beth Malow, associate professor of neurology and a Vanderbilt Kennedy Center investigator, is leading the study with funding from the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR). It is also supported by Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s NAAR grant and the General Clinical Research Center. An interdisciplinary team that includes Malow, Wendy Stone, a clinical psychologist and director of Vanderbilt Kennedy Treatment and Research Institute on Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Dr. Susan McGrew, a developmental pediatrician specializing in the treatment of children with autism, is conducting the study.

For more information call (615) 936-1646 or email

For more Vanderbilt news visit

Media Contact: Jan Rosemergy, (615) 322-8238

Melanie Moran, (615) 322-NEWS

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