Study objectives: Polysomnography (PSG) is the gold standard for the assessment of sleep, yet the extensive apparatus required for monitoring with PSG can be difficult to tolerate, particularly in children. Clinical populations, such as those with anxiety or tactile sensitivity, may have even greater difficulty tolerating the PSG equipment. This study evaluated an innovative protocol for obtaining full PSG in individuals diagnosed autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or developmental delay (DD), as well as typically developing controls (TD). The primary aim was to assess whether this protocol was equally successful for obtaining PSG between these groups.
Methods: One hundred sixty-one individuals were recruited for participation; 93 with a diagnosis of ASD, 23 with a diagnosis of DD, and 45 TD. The participants and families were instructed on a procedure of systematic desensitization to the ambulatory PSG equipment; PSG was performed in the home of the participant.
Results: PSG was successfully attained in 144 (89.4%) participants. There was no difference in completion rate by diagnosis (p = 0.1), though younger age (p = 0.018) and duration of desensitization (p = 0.024) did predict PSG failure. Further, it was found that individuals with ASD took longer to desensitize to the equipment (16.08 d), than those with DD (8.04 d) or TD (0.98 d).
Conclusions: Systematic desensitization to PSG equipment, in combination with PSG completed in the home, allows for individuals with ASD to be equally successful in completing PSG, though they do take longer to acclimate to the equipment.
Keywords: autism spectrum disorder; methodology; pediatric; polysomnography.
© 2016 American Academy of Sleep Medicine.