In this Q&A, Dr. Maida Chen, director of Seattle Children’s Pediatric Sleep Disorders Center and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington, shares details on Seattle Children’s expanding Sleep Medicine Program.

Q: What’s unique about Seattle Children’s Sleep Center?

First and foremost, everything in our Sleep Center is designed for children. Many sleep centers are not pediatric-specific, and we are one of a very few in the region that is dedicated exclusively to children. All of the technologies and machines can work with small children, and our waiting rooms, overnight sleep suites, decor, artwork and furniture are all kid- and family-friendly – intended to provide a comfortable and calming environment.

In addition, all of the providers, including technicians, are pediatric-trained. Currently, we have 12 sleep providers — MDs and advanced registered nurse practitioners, which include three pediatric neurologists, three pediatric pulmonologists, a family practice, and a dually trained internal medicine/pediatric physician plus ARNPs. There are also 20 registered sleep technologists, two continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) coordinators, two technician supervisors and a provider deployment coordinator. Most of our technicians have been here for more than 10 years, many of them for close to 20 years.

We are dedicated to making even our littlest patients comfortable. For instance, we have home desensitization kits for our patients who have sensory processing issues or may be uncomfortable or afraid of wires or medical equipment. We send home a practice kit with wires, gauze strips, stickers and other things, along with a little brochure that shows where everything goes, so they can do this at home with their parents.