Evaluation of Brief Group-Administered Instruction for Parents to Prevent or Minimize Sleep Problems in Young Children with Down Syndrome



Background  The study concerns the unknown value of group instruction for mothers of young children with Down syndrome (DS) in preventing or minimizing sleep problems.


  • 1Children with DS were randomly allocated to an Instruction group (given basic information about children's sleep) and a Control group for later comparison including objective sleep measures (actometry).
  • 2As a secondary exercise, parental reports of sleep problems and objective sleep measures were compared in children with DS and a small sample of unimpaired children (U group) of comparable age and sex distribution.

Results  Instruction (shown to have improved mothers' knowledge) was associated with improvement in behavioural sleep problem ratings at 6-month follow up with no change in sleep-related breathing problem ratings or actometry findings. Sleep-related breathing problem symptoms and actometry abnormalities were significantly more common in the DS group than in the U group at baseline, with no obvious differences for behavioural sleep problems.

Conclusions  Group instruction offers some benefit regarding behavioural sleep problems but not for sleep-related breathing problems to which more attention should be paid in children with DS, with a view to precise diagnosis and treatment.