Sleep quality, particularly time spent in dream sleep, has been shown to be critical for normal brain growth and development.
Children with Autism have been found to have disordered breathing during sleep which impacts on initiating and maintaining sleep.
Both Pre and Post birth stressful events have been shown to affect breathing development in children with autism while the problem of autism directly affects respiratory controls producing shallow upper thoracic breathing. This has also been linked to sleep apnoea and hyperventilation syndrome.
Dream sleep is a vulnerable time for children with autism because it normally relies on diaphragm breathing alone. ASD children tend to be stronger upper thoracic breathers than diaphragm ones so that it is hard for them to maintain dream sleep. Dream sleep is essential for brain growth and development. So a considerable roadblock to recovery (i.e. more normal neurobiological development) is a lack of dream sleep.
No participation by the child is necessary. The therapy is gentle and may be given while a child sleeps.