Deakin University

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Acceptability of a behavioural sleep intervention for autistic children: A qualitative evaluation of Sleeping Sound

journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-10, 02:15 authored by E Pattison, A Mantilla, Matthew Fuller-TyszkiewiczMatthew Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, D Marks, Emma SciberrasEmma Sciberras, Jane McGillivrayJane McGillivray, N Papadopoulos, N Rinehart
Objective: The aim of the current study was to evaluate parental perceptions of the acceptability of a brief behavioural sleep intervention for autistic children (aged 5–13 years) using the Theoretical Framework of Acceptability (TFA). Methods: Qualitative data were collected during a large randomised controlled trial evaluating the efficacy of the Sleeping Sound intervention: 123 families were randomised to the intervention group, of which 115 (93%) completed at least one intervention session and 82 (67%) provided qualitative evaluation data in the 3-month follow-up survey. Consultation records from intervention sessions and parent surveys were qualitatively analysed post hoc using a hybrid approach to thematic analysis. Results: Findings were categorised under the seven themes of the TFA (affective attitude, burden, ethicality, intervention coherence, opportunity costs, perceived effectiveness, self-efficacy) in addition to three themes that were defined following inductive and deductive coding (barriers to implementation, facilitators to implementation, suggestions for improvement). Participants spoke positively about their experience participating in the intervention and perceived the intervention to be appropriate and effective. Most parents (95.5%) reported that they would recommend the Sleeping Sound intervention to other families of autistic children. Barriers to implementation included child and parent anxiety, child health problems, parental preferences, family circumstances, and other (e.g., school holidays). Facilitators to implementation included family support and consistency with strategies. Conclusions: The Sleeping Sound intervention was considered acceptable to parents of autistic children as evidenced by largely positive feedback regarding their experience. The results highlighted areas for improvement which can be used to inform future iterations of the intervention.



Sleep Medicine













Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal


Elsevier BV