Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 257-265

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Effects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on Daily Living Skills in Children with High-Functioning Autism and Concurrent Anxiety Disorders

  • Amy DrahotaAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of California, San DiegoChild and Adolescent Services Research Center, Rady Children’s Hospital Email author 
  • , Jeffrey J. WoodAffiliated withGraduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
  • , Karen M. SzeAffiliated withGraduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
  • , Marilyn Van DykeAffiliated withGraduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

Abstract

CBT is a promising treatment for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and focuses, in part, on children’s independence and self-help skills. In a trial of CBT for anxiety in ASD (Wood et al. in J Child Psychol Psychiatry 50:224–234, 2009), children’s daily living skills and related parental intrusiveness were assessed. Forty children with ASD (7–11 years) and their primary caregiver were randomly assigned to an immediate treatment (IT; n = 17) or 3-month waitlist (WL; n = 23) condition. In comparison to WL, IT parents reported increases in children’s total and personal daily living skills, and reduced involvement in their children’s private daily routines. Reductions correlated with reduced anxiety severity. These results provide preliminary evidence that CBT may yield increased independence and daily living skills among children with ASD.

Keywords

Cognitive behavioral therapy Autism spectrum disorders Daily living skills Anxiety disorders