Academic journal article School Psychology Review

Pediatric Sleep Disorders: Validation of the Sleep Disorders Inventory for Students

Academic journal article School Psychology Review

Pediatric Sleep Disorders: Validation of the Sleep Disorders Inventory for Students

Article excerpt

Abstract. Approximately 20%-25% of the pediatric population will likely develop a sleep disorder sometime during childhood or adolescence. Studies have shown that untreated sleep disorders can negatively affect cognitive abilities, and academic and behavior performance. The Sleep Disorders Inventory for Students (SDIS) is a screening instrument designed to be used by school psychologists to determine if problems related to sleep may be affecting a student's educational performance. The SDIS was validated on 821 students in the southeastern United States and seven sleep centers nationally. This study presents the development of both forms of the SDIS, the SDIS--Children's Form and the SDIS--Adolescent Form, as well as the empirical data to support the reliability of the scores and the validity of the inferences. Practical implications for the use of the SDIS are discussed, and suggestions for future research related to the screening of pediatric sleep disorders are presented.

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Most professionals working with children and adolescents have limited awareness of pediatric sleep disorders and the growing amount of medical research demonstrating the significant effect these disorders can have on students' cognition, achievement, and behaviors (Friedman, Hendeles-Amitai, & Kozminsky, 2003; Gozal, 1998; Montgomery-Downs, Crabtree, & Gozal, 2005; Taras & Potts-Datema, 2005). Results of a 1999 epidemiologic study suggested that 20%-25% of the pediatric population will develop a sleep disorder sometime in their childhood or adolescence (Mindell, Owens, & Carskadon, 1999). Some sleep disorders will disappear during childhood (Owens, Spirito, McGuinn, & Nobile, 2000). However, in 2001, the National Institute of Health made a conservative estimate, based on numerous pediatric sleep studies, that 12%-15% of all students may have a sleep disorder impairing their daytime functioning that will not disappear without treatment. A random sample of 1,000 parents of elementary-school-aged students indicated that 43% of their children have had sleep difficulties lasting more than 6 months (Kahn et al., 1989). Twelve percent reported that their child was on a sedative to induce sleep, 14% reported a sleep delay longer than 30 min with at least one awakening in the night, and 3.4% said their child had failed at least one grade from sleep problems causing sleepiness or learning delays.

It is estimated that only l%-3% of the pediatric population with a correctable sleep disorder are being referred, accurately diagnosed, and treated (Rosen, Zozula, Jahn, & Carson, 2001). Consequently, the average amount of time that may elapse from onset of a sleep disorder until time of diagnosis and treatment is usually many years, and often not until adulthood. This is partially because many pediatricians, psychologists, and other pediatric professionals have limited knowledge of pediatric sleep disorders and their negative effects on daytime performance and health (Owens, 2001). There is also a need for a pediatric sleep screening instrument with good structural validity and reliability that has been developed for use by school psychologists and other pediatric professionals in school and private practice settings. Without such a screening instrument for use by pediatric professionals to identify the large numbers of children with sleep disorders, many untreated sleep disorders are impairing students' achievement, interpersonal relationships, behaviors, and cognition, and in some cases even preventing high school graduation (Gozal, 1998; Taras & Potts-Datema, 2005; Urschitz et al., 2003). Because sleep disorders are not typically considered a possible cause for school or behavioral-emotional difficulties, numerous research findings suggest that some children with sleep disorders may be inaccurately or prematurely identified as having a learning disability (Gozal, 1998; Guilleminault, Winkle, Korobkin, & Simmons, 1982; Urschitz et al. …

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