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Behavioural treatments of sleep patterns and disorders have been widely studied in ‘normal’ populations, with reported benefits to quantitative and qualitative aspects of sleep and to subsequent daytime performance. This study represents the first attempt to apply such procedures to an individual with profound mental handicaps. A case study is presented which demonstrates that the development of an optimal sleep‐schedule led to markedly improved daytime functioning and a reduction in challenging behaviour. It is argued that people with mental handicaps may benefit considerably from optimal scheduling since arbitrary sleep—wake patterns often meet administrative rather than personal needs. 1992 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of the British Institute of Mental Handicap (APEX)

Publication Date





102 - 107