Family-Centered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety in Very Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Driscoll Katherine,Schonberg Michael,Stark Melanie Farkas,Carter Alice S,Hirshfeld-Becker Dina
Journal of autism and developmental disorders
To address the paucity of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) protocols available to treat anxiety in preschoolers with ASD, we piloted a family-centered CBT protocol in a series of 16 children aged 3-7 years with ASD and anxiety disorders and explored its feasibility and efficacy. Children were assessed at baseline, post-treatment (PT), and 4-month follow-up (FU) using diagnostic interviews and parent questionnaires. Fourteen children completed at least 10 sessions (mean 14). At PT, 81% were rated "very much-" or "much-improved" on the CGI-Anxiety. Children displayed significant decreases on clinician- and parent-rated anxiety, and improved family function and coping. Gains were maintained at FU. Parent-child CBT is feasible for young children with ASD plus anxiety that shows potential for similar efficacy as with neurotypical children.