Cognitive behavioural therapy may help treat anxiety in kids with autism
Children with autism spectrum disorders often present with comorbid anxiety disorders that cause significant functional impairment.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is effective for treating anxiety in school-aged children with autism spectrum disorder, according to an Australian review of studies. Cognitive behavioural therapy and other psychosocial interventions are effective for treating anxiety in school-aged children with autism spectrum disorder, according to an analysis of all relevant studies published in 2005-2018.
The findings are published in Campbell Systematic Reviews.
Autistic Spectrum Disorder is a term used to describe a condition in which the person has difficulties in social reciprocation, communication and ritualised or rigid behaviour. Most people on the Autistic Spectrum will have social skills difficulties but not necessarily meet criteria for other clinical problems. Look for associated co-morbid conditions such as Depression and Attention Deficit Disorder. A common associated presentation which can be debilitating but often overlooked is anxiety.
People on the Autistic Spectrum should have access to a range of treatments for anxiety as other clinical populations. Modified Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can be successfully used to manage anxiety disorders in people on the Autistic Spectrum.
Keywords: ASD, Anxiety, CBT, Group therapy, Autism, children, Adolescent
The analysis looked at 24 studies, most of which used a cognitive behavioural therapy intervention, although one used peer-mediated theatre therapy, and one examined the benefits of Thai traditional massage.
The researchers found that overall, the interventions showed a moderate to high effectiveness for treating anxiety compared with treatment-as-usual.Overall, the interventions showed a statistically significant moderate to high effectiveness for treating anxiety compared with treatment-as-usual.
"These are exciting results as they actually show evidence that some of the things that can be done at home or at school to reduce anxiety in school-aged children actually work," said co-author Petra Lietz, Principal Research Fellow of the Australian Council for Educational Research.
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