Managing Behaviour and Sleep Problems in Disabled Children: An investigation into the effectiveness and costs of parent-training interventions

Bryony Anne Beresford, Lucy Stuttard, Susan Evelyn Clarke, Jane Maddison, Jennifer Beecham

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Disabled children, and particularly those with learning disabilities and/or autistic spectrum conditions (ASC), are more likely to have problems with their sleep or behaviour than non-disabled children.

Sleep problems are common among all children but more common among disabled children. For these children sleep problems appear to be very persistent, and are not likely to disappear without intervention. Figures for children with severe learning disability are particularly high. A number of reasons have been suggested for the high prevalence of sleep problems in disabled children.

Behaviour problems are also more common among disabled children than among their nondisabled peers, with studies finding rates of behaviour problems to be three to four times higher compared to non-disabled peers. Such behaviours can be difficult to manage, anti-social, distressing, and/or interfere with family routines and activities.

Current evidence suggests that access to early/preventive interventions which help parents better manage the behaviours they find difficult or problematic may be an important factor in improving outcomes for disabled children and their families.

The aims of this study were, through a portfolio of effectiveness investigations and qualitative research, to:
* Evaluate the effectiveness of four different parent-training interventions for parents of disabled children with sleep problems.
* Evaluate the effectiveness of four different parent-training interventions for parents of disabled children (learning difficulties and/or autistic spectrum disorders) with behaviour problems.
* Identify the costs of these interventions and explore their cost effectiveness.
* Explore the factors which hinder or support the effectiveness of these interventions.
* Describe parents' experiences of receiving these interventions.
* Describe professionals' experiences of delivering these interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherDepartment for Education
Commissioning bodyDepartment of Education
Number of pages285
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-78105-080-4
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameDepartment for Education Research Report
PublisherDepartment for Education


  • sleep problems
  • behaviour problems
  • Training

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