Neurobehavioral Sleep Clinic
The Cincinnati Children’s Neurobehavioral Sleep Clinic helps children with neurological conditions who have chronic and complex sleep problems. These issues may stem from neurodevelopmental conditions, such as autism or genetic diseases.
The Neurobehavioral Sleep Clinic brings together a pediatric neurologist and pediatric psychologist who are board certified in sleep medicine. These experts work together to provide complete evaluation and treatment for sleep disorders. This clinic is one of only a few in the country that takes an integrated approach to evaluating and treating neurobehavioral sleep disorders.
At Cincinnati Children’s, we offer:
- Combined treatment from a child neurologist and pediatric psychologist who practice sleep medicine
- Access to a range of sleep study tests that help us pinpoint a diagnosis and use evidence-based treatment for your child
- Simplified and coordinated care, so you don’t have to worry about managing appointments and specialist schedules
Conditions We Treat
We treat kids whose medical and behavioral health conditions disrupt sleep or cause insomnia. These conditions can include:
- Neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and intellectual disabilities or cognitive impairment
- Genetic syndromes, such as Rett syndrome and fragile-X syndrome
- Medical conditions, such as epilepsy, concussion, traumatic brain injury, neonatal abstinence syndrome and migraine headache
When children have disrupted sleep or insomnia, they can develop problematic sleep habits and behaviors that can worsen sleep problems. These habits can also affect family members’ sleep. Problematic behaviors can include:
- Not always sleeping in his or her bed (different sleep locations)
- Irregular sleep schedule
Children with neurodevelopmental disorders may also be at a higher risk for sleep problems, including:
- Unusual movements or behaviors during sleep (parasomnia)
- Excessive sleepiness during the day (hypersomnia)
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
- Restless leg syndrome
Our Treatment Approach
A child neurologist and pediatric psychologist will evaluate your child together. During the evaluation, they will look at how your child’s environment, development and medical condition affect sleep.
The team will also work together to create a personalized treatment plan that’s tailored to your child’s unique needs.
Your child's treatment may include medication to help him or her sleep. We may also recommend cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
A psychologist uses CBT to help your child create healthier sleep habits. This process may include talking about emotions or worries around sleep, which can help change behaviors that interfere with sleep.
If your child has a genetic condition related to the sleep problem, our team will work with your child’s other doctors to make sure any new medicines won’t conflict with an existing treatment.
What to Expect
If your child has a sleep problem, your pediatrician may refer you to our Sleep Center for treatment. You can also contact our Sleep Center for a referral.
Once you’re referred to the Sleep Center, we will ask you to fill out a questionnaire. This form will help us understand your child’s health history and symptoms, so we know which specialists are best suited to treat your child.
If your child may benefit from our Neurobehavioral Sleep Clinic, we’ll send a second survey. This survey will allow you to give more detailed information about your child’s health and sleep. Our team will use this information to prepare for your evaluation.
During this first visit, you’ll meet with a child neurologist and pediatric psychologist at the same time. The team will ask about your child’s medical and sleep history. We may recommend an overnight sleep study, which records your child’s sleep behaviors. The type of sleep study we recommend will depend on your child’s symptoms. Your child will stay overnight at our Sleep Laboratory for the sleep study.
After the exam and testing, the team will collaborate on a treatment plan. Then, we’ll work with you to schedule follow-up appointments as needed. Depending on your child’s condition and treatment plan, these appointments may include visits with the neurologist, the psychologist or both.
If another doctor or pediatrician referred you to the center, our team will communicate with them throughout the process. This will help make sure your home doctor can stay informed about your child’s progress and help manage any follow-up care, if needed.
Read about resources for traveling families.
Meet the Team
This clinic brings together experts from child neurology and pediatric psychology who are board certified in sleep medicine. Our team includes: