Tips for Children with Autism Syracuse NY

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common cause of inherited mental impairment. Melatonin should be considered as a possible adjunct therapy to more effectively manage these associated sleep issues. Read on and find out how specialists in Syracuse deal with this problem.

Facilitated Communication Institute, School of Education, Syracuse University
(315) 443-9657
370 Huntington Hall
Syracuse, NY
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(315) 455-7591
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Syracuse, NY
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Jarrod W. Smith, Esq., P.L.L.C.
(315) 472-4479
120 East Washington Street
Syracuse, NY
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Sherry Rogers, MD
(315) 488-2856
2800 W. Genesee St.
Syracuse, NY
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FEAT of CNY
(315) 638-4058
51 Carousel Lane
Baldwinsville, NY
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Facilitated Communication Institute
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School of Education, Syracuse University, 370 Huntington Hall
Syracuse, NY
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Ronald VanNorstrand, Esq.
(315) 422-3300
201 East Jefferson Street, Suite 530
Syracuse, NY
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Alternative Autism Solutions
(315) 449-0040
Syracuse, NY
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Learning Disabilities Associaton of New York - Central New York
(315) 432-0665
722 West Manlius Street
East Syracuse, NY
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Families for Effective Autism Treatment of Central New York
(315) 638-4058
51 Carousel Lane
Baldwinsville, NY
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Tips for Children with Autism

Melatonin for Sleep Disorders in Children with Autism.
Date: Thursday, April 30, 2009
Source: J Clin Sleep Med
Related Monographs: Melatonin




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Autism is a brain development disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs all begin before a child is three years old. Autism affects many parts of the brain; how this occurs is not understood. Parents usually notice signs in the first two years of their child's life. Although early behavioral or cognitive intervention can help children gain self-care, social, and communication skills, there is no known cure. Not many children with autism live independently after reaching adulthood, though some become successful.  About a third to a half of individuals with autism do not develop enough natural speech to meet their daily communication needs. The main goals of treatment are to lessen associated deficits and family distress, and to increase quality of life and functional independence. No single treatment is best and treatment is typically tailored to the child's needs.


Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common cause of inherited mental impairment. Aside from intellectual disability, prominent characteristics of the syndrome include an elongated face, large or protruding ears, flat feet, larger testicles in men, and low muscle tone. Speech may include cluttered speech or nervous speech. Behavioral characteristics may include stereotypic movements (e.g., hand-flapping) and atypical social development, particularly shyness and limited eye contact. Some individuals with the fragile X syndrome also meet the diagnostic criteria for autism.


Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland in the brain. For years, scientists have known that melatonin's main function was in the control of our sleep patterns. However, more recent research has revealed that it also functions as an important antioxidant. After puberty melatonin output begins a gradual steady decline. Adults experience about a 37 percent decline in daily melatonin output between the ages of 20 and 70 with the majority of the decline occurring after age 40. In 1994, melatonin became a sensation when studies revealed that supplementation provided significant life extension in several different species of laboratory animals. Although long-term studies on humans have not been conducted, melatonin became a popular product in health food stores and pharmacies throughout the country. Melatonin's primary function seems to be its role in regulating sleep/wake cycle. When darkness falls melatonin levels rise which triggers the sleep cycle.


A recent study attempted to determine whether melatonin supplementation could improve sleep problems in children with autism or fragile X syndrome. The 4 week, randomized, placebo-controlled study included 18 children, ranging in age from 2 to 15 years, with autistic spectrum disorder and/or fragile X syndrome who then received either melatonin (3 milligrams) or placebo each night for 2 weeks. The children then "crossed over" to the other treatment group for the remaining 2 weeks. The results from the 12 children who completed the study revealed that treatment with melatonin was associated with significant improvements in total night sleep durations, sleep latency times and sleep-onset times. Compared to placebo, melatonin supplementation increased sleep duration by 21 minutes, shortened sleep-onset latency by 28 minutes, and reduced sleep-onset time by 42 minutes. The melatonin therapy was found to be safe and well tolerated among the study participants. Since sleep problems occur in up to 89 percent of children with autism and 77 percent of children with fragile X syndrome, melatonin should be considered as a possible adjunct therapy to more effectively manage these associated sleep issues.1


1 Wirojanan J, Jacquemont S, Diaz R, et al. The Efficacy of Melatonin for Sleep Problems in Children with Autism, Fragile X Syndrome, or Autism and Fragile X Syndrome. J Clin Sleep Med. Apr2009;5(2):145-50.



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