Background and Aim:ADHD is the most common childhood neurodevelopmental disorder. ADHD symptoms can lead to impairments in other areas of functioning approximately 75% of children with ADHD also experience difficulties with sleep. Childhood sleep difficulties intensify ADHD symptom severity and cause additional impairments. There is growing support for routine assessment of sleep as part of standard ADHD management. However, assessment of sleep difficulties remains poorly addressed as they fail to account for the unique expression of sleep difficulties present in children with ADHD. Our recently submitted systematic review identified the lack of appropriate tools to screen children with ADHD for sleep difficulties.
Research Method: This multi-phase research will address this gap in current knowledge by undertaking a comprehensive project that will develop, trial, and evaluate a fit-for-purpose screening assessment of sleep difficulties in children with ADHD. This project will: (i) develop a purpose-built screening instrument with the aid of consumer and clinician engagement, (ii) validate this this new measure for the assessment of sleep in children with ADHD, and (iii) evaluate an information intervention of sleep problems for children with ADHD with the new measure.
Anticipated Results: A screening instrument will be developed through collaboration with sleep experts and parents of children with ADHD which will then be piloted and validated using best practice methods.
Implications: It is anticipated that this research will help to provide clinicians with greater accuracy in identifying sleep difficulties in children with ADHD and therefore enabling opportunities for early intervention and improved treatment outcomes.