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This review describes the complex and often reciprocal relationship between sleep problems, neurological disorders and/or intellectual disability in children. The causes of Intellectual disability (ID) discussed in this review include those conditions present from or around the time of birth, although it also considers traumatic brain injuries occurring later in development. This review discusses the patterns of sleep difficulty associated with specific disorders and summarizes the assessment and interventions, both behavioural and pharmacological, applicable to children. Many neurological disorders such as epilepsy, narcolepsy and neurorespiratory disorders vary considerably in terms of the degree of co-morbid problems and can present with a spectrum of effects on underlying cognitive or behavioural substrates including sleep function. These conditions are discussed as they provide useful insights into how disordered sleep can impact on cognitive development and behaviour. The review draws both on the literature in these areas and the extensive clinical experience of the authors.

Original publication




Journal article


Dev Neurorehabil

Publication Date





95 - 114


Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity, Autistic Disorder, Brain Injuries, Child, Epilepsy, Humans, Intelligence, Sleep Wake Disorders