Treatment of Sleep Problems in a 5-Year-Old Boy with Autism Using Behavioural Principles Academic Article uri icon


  • This article presents a case study which is part of a larger project on sleep problems in children with autism. The successful treatment of sleep problems (night settling, night waking, and co-sleeping) in a boy of 5 years 4 months with autism is described. The intervention was based on behavioural principles and involved the parents attending an individually-run parent training programme. The programme consisted of an interview, three weekly training sessions and a review session. The parents learned how to use a bedtime routine, reinforcement, effective instructions, partner support strategies and extinction procedures. Once the techniques were implemented, the child learned how to settle himself to bed and how to sleep alone for the entire night. For this child, the results of the sleep programme were clinically significant as measured by a scale of goal achievement, and were maintained at a 3 month and a 12 month follow-up.

publication date

  • June 2001