Children with additional support needs are more likely to have serious sleep problems than other children. They may not settle, or they may wake frequently throughout the night or very early in the morning. Sleep deprivation can have a negative effect on the whole household. It affects the health of the parents and how they are able to respond to the needs of all their children.
Sleep Scotland advocates a programme of behavioural and cognitive techniques to improve sleep. The programme has been evaluated and has been shown to reduce stress levels for the parents, which, in turn, leads to improved health and quality of care for the whole family. Parents and carers can look after their children better, and make the best decisions about care for their children with additional support needs.
Sleep Scotland is working with Local Authorities and NHS Boards to establish locally controlled services. Sleep Scotland’s vision is to establish sleep counselling as part of a package offered to families with children with additional support needs. It has the following aims:
- To help children and young people with additional support needs to sleep better and consequently to improve their daytime performance
- To help parents and carers by giving them specific tried and tested behavioural and cognitive techniques to adapt their child’s night time behaviour
- To provide training for professionals from health, social work, education and the voluntary sector
- To establish sleep clinics to provide families with support and counselling
- To run a support line between the hours of 9.30 and 5.30 pm, Monday to Friday, on 0131 651 1392
- To raise awareness of the problems caused by sleep difficulties in children and young people with additional support needs
- To promote the availability of a sleep counselling service as part of the role of the statutory sector.