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Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)
Autism Research Database
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC)
 
Project Element Element Description

Project Title

Project Title

Cognitive behavioral therapy for core autism symptoms in school-age children

Principal Investigator

Principal Investigator

Wood, Jeffrey

Description

Description

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are among the most common childhood neurodevelopmental syndromes. A fundamental goal in the field is the discovery of methods that mitigate core autism symptoms, since lower levels of such symptoms are associated with better prognosis. The core symptoms tend to be stable and resistant to intervention. While social skills treatments are common for school-aged youth with ASD, the current evidence base is weak, with limited external validity and durability of effects. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) offers a novel approach for addressing core autism symptoms in higher functioning school-age youngsters. In prior work by this research team, CBT has been successfully adapted to treat emotional problems in school-aged children with ASD. Initial results suggest that CBT may also be promising for reducing core autism symptoms. Fifty children with high-functioning ASD (7-11 years old) will be randomly assigned to 32 sessions of CBT or an attention placebo condition (social skills training, the standard of care in the community). An independent evaluator will administer a standardized assessment battery, including performance-based assessments (e.g., the ADOS) and school-based behavioral observations of children's core autism symptoms at pretreatment, post treatment, and 3-month follow-up. The treatment is based on a contemporary model of memory retrieval competition, employing strategies for enhancing the retention and enactment of adaptive conceptual and behavioral responses in daily social contexts (e.g., school, home), emphasizing the use of deep semantic processing to enhance memory retrieval. Quality assurance will be established via reliability checks and treatment fidelity monitoring. It is anticipated that children who receive this experimental CBT therapy will exhibit more improvement in core autism symptoms in school and home settings when compared to children who receive the social skills training intervention. This study would result in a novel, empirically based intervention for the treatment of core autism symptoms. Given the increasing prevalence of autism and the lack of effective treatment models in this age-group, positive findings from this study could have broad public health significance.

Funder

Funder

Autism Speaks

Fiscal Year Funding

Fiscal Year Funding

150000

Current Award Period

Current Award Period

2011-2014

Strategic Plan Question

Strategic Plan Question

Question 4: Which Treatments And Interventions Will Help?

Strategic Plan Objective

Strategic Plan Objective

Green dot: Objective has greater than or equal to the recommended funding. 4LD. Support at least five community-based studies that assess the effectiveness of interventions and services in broader community settings by 2015. Such studies may include comparative effectiveness research studies that assess the relative effectiveness of: o Different and/or combined medical, pharmacological, nutritional, behavioral, service-provision, and parent- or caregiver-implemented treatments; o Scalable early intervention programs for implementation in underserved, low-resource, and low-literacy populations; and o Studies of widely used community intervention models for which extensive published data are not available. Outcome measures should include assessment of potential harm as a result of autism treatments, as well as positive outcomes. IACC Recommended Budget: $37,500,000 over 5 years.

Project Link

Project Link

Cognitive behavioral therapy for core autism symptoms in school-age children (External web link)

Institution

Institution

University of California, Los Angeles

State/Country

State/Country

California

Project Number

Project Number

7552

Federal or Private?

Federal or Private?

Private

Received ARRA Funding?

Received ARRA Funding?

No

History/Related Projects

History/Related Projects

Cognitive behavioral therapy for core autism symptoms in school-age children | 150000 | 2011 | 7552
Cognitive behavioral therapy for core autism symptoms in school-age children | 0 | 2012 | 7552
Cognitive behavioral therapy for core autism symptoms in school-age children | 0 | 2014 | 7552
Cognitive behavioral therapy for core autism symptoms in school-age children | 0 | 2015 | 7552

 
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