The study aimed to analyze (i) the prevalence of sleep disorders in pre-school children with cerebral palsy (CP) using the Sleep Disturbance Scale for Children (SDSC), (ii) the possible association with motor, cognitive and behavioral problems, and (iii) the possible differences with typically developing children matched for age and gender.
One-hundred children with CP (age range: 3-5 years, mean: 3.8 years) were assessed using the SDSC, the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS), the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, and the Child Behaviour Check List (CBCL) to assess sleep, motor, cognitive, and behavioral problems, respectively. Further 100 healthy children matched for age and sex were assessed using the SDSC.
An abnormal total sleep score was found in 13% of children with CP while 35% had an abnormal score on at least one SDSC factor. SDSC total score was significantly associated with pathological internalizing scores on CBCL and active epilepsy on multivariate analysis. CP group reported higher significant median scores on SDSC total, parasomnias, and difficulty in initiating and maintaining sleep factors.
In pre-school children sleep disorders are more common in children with CP than in healthy control group and are often associated with epilepsy and behavioral problems.