Sleep problems are very common among children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. Here are some organisations that can provide information, advice and support.
Sheffield Family Centres have published videos about “Getting your teenager’s sleep back on track” and “Getting a good night’s sleep for school”.
Cerebra have published a downloadable sleep guide for parents of children with brain-related conditions like autism, ADHD, Down Syndrome, learning disability, cerebral palsy or epilepsy.
The Tired Out Hub is a website created by Family Fund in partnership with other charities. The hub provides information for families raising disabled children about bedtime routines, night waking, sleep facts and much more.
The Sheffield Children’s Hospital have sleep resources for parents of children with autism and related conditions on their website.
The Sleep Charity has resources on children’s sleep problems, bedtime routines, bedroom environment, relaxation tips, diet and sleep, nightmares and night terrors, children with SEND and babies and sleep on their website and a separate teen sleep hub with resources on teenagers’ sleep.
The Sheffield Parenting Hub runs one-hour “Time to Sleep” Seminars (currently via Zoom). These are suitable for parents of children aged 1-18 years, and they have both general sessions and sessions for parents of children with autism. Parents can book directly via this Eventbrite page.
Children aged 0-5 years
Health visitors: The 0-19 School Nursing and Health Visiting Service accepts referrals of children aged 2-5 years (pre-school) for specialist sleep intervention. Many of the staff have received training to deliver a brief initial intervention of sleep hygiene. There are also a small number of specialist sleep practitioners in the service. These accept referrals from professionals or other health visitors once they have undertaken the basic sleep hygiene work.
Referrals for sleep intervention can be made via the Early Years Partnership Process or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Parents can self-refer to their own health visitor by ringing 0114 3053224 – more information can be found on the hospital website.
Children aged 5 years and over
Parenting Hub: Some of the Parenting Specialists in the Parenting Hub have undergone sleep training by the Children’s Sleep Charity. They can deliver direct sleep clinics and support families to create an individual action plan, along with regular follow-up calls whilst the plan is put into action. Generally, this support lasts for two to four weeks. A lot of this support is completed via zoom and telephone contact. Parents can refer themselves by contacting email@example.com / 0114 2057243. The waiting time for a sleep clinic is currently up to two months.
Children aged 0-16 years
Sleep Service at the Sheffield Children’s Hospital: This service investigates and provides advice and treatment for children and young people with medical sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnoea, narcolepsy, severe sleep walking, night terrors or unexplained nocturnal events. See www.sheffieldchildrens.nhs.uk/services/sleep-service/ for more information. Any health care professional can refer into this service if one of these conditions is suspected by sending a referral letter to the Sleep Consultant at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
A team of nurses and sleep practitioners also give advice and intensive support for children with severe sleep disturbance. Parents should access the Health Visiting Team or Parenting Hub (see above) in the first instance and they will refer on to the sleep nurses at the Sheffield Children’s Hospital if necessary. Sleep advice is also available from the specialist nurses for children attending the Ryegate Centre.
Cerebra Sleep Service: Can provide 1:1 telephone support to parents of children with a brain-related condition (like autism, Down Syndrome, ADHD, cerebral palsy, learning disability or epilepsy, but also those without a diagnosis who are waiting for an assessment) whose sleep routine is non-existent or not working. Parents can refer themselves by completing this form.