- Increased bedtime resistance
- Greater sleep anxiety
- Delayed sleep onset
- Increased incidence of parasomnias (e.g. nightmares, enuresis)
- Shorter overall sleep duration (waking earlier than necessary or desired by the family)
- Frequent nighttime awakenings
- Difficulty returning to sleep after nighttime awakenings, which frequently resulted in problematic and sometimes unsafe behaviors such as climbing on furniture, accessing dangerous household items (e.g. knives), or excessive eating.
Children with FASD have a distinctive sensory processing profile that is most often characterized by a predilection for sensation-seeking, but poor registration (e.g. understanding) of what is actually occurring around them. [Jirikowic: 2008] These children tend to have a high neurological threshold and feel under-stimulated; hence, the seeking of additional sensation appeals to them. Additionally, children with FASD are more likely to fall into the clinically concerning range on both long- and short-form Sensory Profile tests in the domains of tactile sensitivity, auditory filtering, and movement sensitivity. Low scores (indicative of more significant pathology) on the short sensory profile were predictive of more significant behavioral problems, as measured by the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Thus, sensory processing problems tend to correlate both with poorer sleep at night and more disruptive behavior during the day. [Franklin: 2008] As such, children with FASD will likely benefit from early consultation of Occupational Therapy in order to target sensory processing impairment that appear to lead to secondary disability via behavioral and sleep problems.
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Jirikowic T, Olson HC, Kartin D.
Sensory processing, school performance, and adaptive behavior of young school-age children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
Phys Occup Ther Pediatr. 2008;28(2):117-36. PubMed abstract
Wengel T, Hanlon-Dearman AC, Fjeldsted B.
Sleep and sensory characteristics in young children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2011;32(5):384-92. PubMed abstract