An Investigation into Sleeping Patterns of Blind Children
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Ten congenitally blind primary school children aged between 7 and 12 years were investigated and observed for a reduction or absence of photic input to the hypothalamus, which is required to entrain circadian rhythms which may lead to sleeping problems. As it was not dear whether sleeping problems are associated with blindness per se. Other characteristics of the pupils and their social environment were taken into account. A group of 10 matched controls were observed. Interviews were conducted with parents and teachers of the 10 congenitally blind pupils, together with the matched controls. An interview schedule and self-report measures were used to collect information about the nature arid type of sleep problems experienced by the children in this study, the parents ’ acceptance of their blind child, marital satisfaction, social support and parental stress. The study revealed that light has a significant role to p!ay as an entrainment mechanism of circadian rhythms which have an effect on the quality of sleep. Results are discussed with reference to the application of a behavioral intervention approach (for example, a balanced diet, social support from both teachers and parents) with a view to improving sleeping problems in blind children.