Sleep Better!: A Guide to Improving Sleep for Children with Special Needs, Revised Edition

Author: V. Mark Durand Ph.D.

Format: Paperback, 288 pages, 6.0 x 9.0
ISBN: 9781598572940
Price: $24.95

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From bedtime tantrums to bedwetting, sleep problems can be one of the biggest sources of worry and frustration for parents of children with special needs. Help is here in this down-to-earth, nonjudgmental guide, packed with widely tested, easy-to-use techniques that work for all children, with and without disabilities. This fully updated edition includes help for parents who usually struggle with nighttime problems. Without preaching or proposing a "one right way" to solve problems, psychologist and father Mark Durand helps families tackle sleep issues with optimism and proven strategies drawn from clinical and personal experience. A must-own for tired parents everywhere, this warm and wise guidebook will put sleep problems to bed and help whole families get the rest they need.


  • Highly effective strategies for children with special needs such as autism, Tourette syndrome, and cerebral palsy
  • Research-based solutions to even the toughest nighttime challenges
  • Tested with thousands of families
  • Respects individual differences in families—offers different options to fit different parenting philosophies
  • Helps parents develop a positive outlook and attitude as they work to resolve their child’s challenges
  • Includes help for parents who struggle with their own nighttime problems
  • Flexible—parents can pick and choose strategies and modify them as needed
  • Valuable background information on understanding and assessing sleep problems


  • Sleep Diary
  • Self-Talk Log
  • Behavior Log
  • Sleep Problems Scale
  • Plus annotated lists of additional sleep resources


  • Bedtime tantrums
  • Night waking
  • Sleep terrors
  • Bed wetting
  • Sleep schedule problems
  • Sleepwalking and sleep talking
  • Insomnia
  • Tooth-grinding
  • Periodic limb movements


Review by: Peter Doehring, Director, ASD Roadmap
“Parents struggling to help their child with special needs to sleep better can get clear and straightforward guidance for a wide range of problems, richly illustrated with case studies. Even experienced professionals will find much to learn.”
Review by: Daniel Openden, President and CEO, Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center
“One of the most practical research-to-practice books in our field. Dr. Durand translates years of empirical research into a book that allows the reader to identify a childs sleep problem and develop a highly effective plan.”
Review by: Beth Malow, Neurologist and Director, Sleep Disorders Division, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
“Provides practical information on a variety of topicsfrom the basics of sleep and assessing sleep problems to strategies for change. It is welcomed by all who help children with special needs (and their parents) get the sleep they need to function at their best.”

Table of Contents

About the Reproducible Forms
About the Author
Preface to the Revised Edition
Preface to the First Edition

I. The Nature of Sleep and Its Problems

1. An Overview of Sleep
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
When Are Owls and Larks Not Birds?
What Is Sleep?
What Is Our Biological Clock?
How Does Our Temperature Affect Sleep?
2. Sleep Problems
How Common Are Sleep Problems?
How Serious Are These Problems?
When Does Sleep Become a Problem?
II. Assessing Sleep Problems

3. Identifying the Sleep Problem
Steps to Understanding the Problem
Sleep Diary
Behavior Log
Sleep Interview
Other Possible Causes
A Parents Dilemma
4. Identifying Obstacles to Successful Treatment
Interfering Thoughts
III. Strategies for Change

5. An Optimistic Approach to Improving Sleep
6. Good Sleep Habits
The Good Sleep Habits Checklist
Bedtime Routines
Regular Sleep Times
Alcohol and Tobacco
Sleep and Your Diet
Exercise, Activity, and Sleep
The Bed and the Bedroom
7. Help for Bedtime Problems
Graduated Extinction
Bedtime Fading
Comparing Graduated Extinction and Bedtime Fading
Combining Plans with Medication
When Sleep Problems Rear Their Ugly Heads Again
Begin at Bedtime
8. Sleeping Through the Night
Causes of Night Waking
Waking without Disruption
Disruptive Night Waking
9. Sleeping at the Wrong Times
Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome
Non-24 Hour Sleep-Wake Cycles
Napping and Poor Sleep Habits
10. Nightmares, Sleep Terrors and Other Related Problems
Sleep Terrors
Sleep Walking and Sleep Talking
Sleep Eating
11. Excessive Sleepiness
Breathing Problems
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Movement-Related Sleep Problems
12. Other Nighttime Difficulties
Problems with Anxiety
Problems with Depression
Sleep-Related Headaches
Nighttime Tooth-Grinding
13. Daytime Behavior Problems
Why Do Children Have Behavior Problems?
The Seven Cs for Changing Behavior
Conclusion: A Caution About Behavior Problems
14. Sleep and Medications
Other Sleep-Inducing Medications
Promoting Wakefulness
Conclusion: What Do You Recommend?
15. Preventing Sleep Problems
Developmental Changes in Sleep
Prevention Strategies
Conclusion: The Beginning of Better Nights and Better Days

A. Support Groups and Associations
B. Internet Sleep Resources
C. Accredited Sleep Disorders Centers
D. Thoughts Quiz
E. Self-Talk Journal
F. Sleep Diary
G. Behavior Log
H. Albany Sleep Problems Scale (ASPS)


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