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The Sleep Charity to Present Sleep Support Services at Venue to Virtual

young boy smiling holding a book

The Sleep Charity will be joining Kidz to Adultz at Venue to Virtual this November.  Lisa Artis, deputy CEO, talks about what you can expect to see. 

With a mission to empower the nation to sleep better, award winning, The Sleep Charity, is presenting its sleep support services at the new Venue to Virtual by Kidz to Adultz (9 – 13th November).

For many parents of children with additional needs or disability the thought of them falling asleep easily, staying asleep through the night, and then waking up easily – and refreshed – must seem but a dream.

Lots of children have sleep issues. Approximately around 50% of children will have a sleep issue at some point1 and this rises to over 80% with those with SEND.2

The recent report ‘Left Stranded’ from the National Autistic Society has outlined the impact of Covid-19 on autistic people and their families in the UK.

  • 68% said their child was anxious at the loss of routine
  • 65% couldn’t do online schoolwork
  • 78% were concerned about following government rules
  • 70% were concerned about wearing a mask due to sensory overload

This is an important piece of work as we know our families with children who have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities have found it difficult during the Covid-19 pandemic. Chronic sleep disturbances can result in frustration and discomfort at night, and exhaustion and irritation during the day. Sleep deprivation causes increased hyperactivity and other behavioural problems, as well as damaging physical and mental development. Poor sleep habits from an early age can lead to long term sleep problems.

Sleep issues are also becoming more complex as they’re going on longer without intervention but also because parents/carers are not in a position to put things in place as they’re so exhausted themselves. Some families who rely on their child/children going to respite to give themselves chance to rest and recuperate have been told there will be no respite for the foreseeable. This has left parents at breaking point.

A vast majority of sleep issues are behavioural not medical related and respond positively to a behavioural approach to sleep.

A behavioural approach to sleep is to:

  • Assess: working out what’s causing any sleep issues before putting strategies in place
  • Empower: give parents and young people knowledge to educate them around the subject of sleep so that they understand how it works
  • Plan: working together to develop a plan meets needs
  • Support: offering support whilst making changes to sleep patterns as it’s incredibly hard work – and often gets worse before it gets better
  • Evaluate: continually evaluating what’s working until the sleep issue is resolved

We have commissioned services in Doncaster, Bassetlaw, and North Yorkshire where families can self-refer to the support service. We also have a Lottery funded sleep service across Lincolnshire. We also offer our three-day Sleep Practitioner training to professionals where we provide evidence-based sleep information to give them tools to deliver sleep interventions in their localities. If you access our support, we always make sure we work with the child or young person and the family in partnership.

Learn more about The Sleep Charity on their website: https://thesleepcharity.org.uk/

References

1https://www.aafp.org/afp/2014/0301/p368.html#:~:text=Up%20to%2050%25%20of%20children%20will%20experience%20a,apnea%20occurs%20in%201%25%20to%205%25%20of%20children.

2 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30745433/

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