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Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Anxiety: Adapting Interventions for Children with Autism and Intellectual Disability

  • Author(s): Danial, John
  • Advisor(s): Wood, Jeffrey J
  • et al.

Recent studies have indicated Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as a promising treatment for anxiety in children with autism. However, this line of treatment has only been investigated in high-functioning children with autism. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of an adapted CBT protocol in treating anxiety for children with autism and IQ's < 70. Several adaptations, such as play-based techniques, incorporation of mantras, and simplified rating systems, were employed with an 11-year old boy with autism and anxiety symptoms. A single-case pre-post design was employed. The primary measures included session-by-session parent ratings of the participant's three highest rated anxiety symptoms, as well as a pre-post clinical anxiety interview conducted with the parent. Results indicate that this treatment was effective at treating the anxious symptoms of the participant based on Simulation Modeling Analysis, visual inspection, and standard mean difference calculations. This study provides preliminary evidence for this intervention protocol in treating the anxiety of children with autism and an intellectual delay.

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