Date of Award

Spring 5-24-2015

Document Type

Undergraduate Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Neuroscience


Psychological Sciences


Isabella Mutschler


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is defined by social, emotional, and learning deficits. Past research suggests that ASD and sleep problems often co-occur. The goal of this research was to investigate sleeping behaviors in autistic infants in comparison to typically developing infants (TD). The data of this study has been acquired at the University of California San Diego Autism Center of Excellence. One main goal of this center is to identify early indicators of ASD in infants (1-3 years of age), which could lead to earlier treatment and better therapy techniques. The current study used a sleep questionnaire to compare parent-reported sleeping behaviors in young autistic infants and in healthy controls. The results showed that autistic infants had significantly more difficulty getting to sleep at night, woke from sleep screaming or confused more often, and had more difficulty waking up in the morning, compared to TD infants. Future research should further investigate the treatment options for sleep problems in autistic infants, and examine whether autistic infants with epilepsy have more sleeping abnormalities than autistic infants without epilepsy.