Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 12, pp 2866-2877

Cognitive Enhancement Therapy for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Results of an 18-month Feasibility Study

  • Shaun M. EackAffiliated withSchool of Social Work, University of PittsburghDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Email author 
  • , Deborah P. GreenwaldAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of MedicineWestern Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
  • , Susan S. HogartyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of MedicineWestern Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
  • , Amber L. BahorikAffiliated withSchool of Social Work, University of PittsburghWestern Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
  • , Maralee Y. LitschgeAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of MedicineWestern Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
  • , Carla A. MazefskyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of MedicineWestern Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
  • , Nancy J. MinshewAffiliated withDepartments of Psychiatry and Neurology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

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Abstract

Adults with autism experience significant impairments in social and non-social information processing for which few treatments have been developed. This study conducted an 18-month uncontrolled trial of Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET), a comprehensive cognitive rehabilitation intervention, in 14 verbal adults with autism spectrum disorder to investigate its feasibility, acceptability, and initial efficacy in treating these impairments. Results indicated that CET was satisfying to participants, with high treatment attendance and retention. Effects on cognitive deficits and social behavior were also large (d = 1.40–2.29) and statistically significant (all p < .001). These findings suggest that CET is a feasible, acceptable, and potentially effective intervention for remediating the social and non-social cognitive impairments in verbal adults with autism.

Keywords

Cognitive Enhancement Therapy Cognitive rehabilitation Cognitive remediation Psychosocial treatment Cognitive therapy Adult treatment Autism Autism spectrum disorder