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Behavioral Treatment of Problem Behavior for an Adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Misophonia


Misophonia is characterized by an autonomic response (e.g., increased heart rate) that is elicited by certain innocuous or repetitive sounds, and individuals with misophonia may display an extreme, overt response commonly associated with rage, hatred, and a loss of self-control. In this investigation, we used a combined respondent and operant approach to treat problem behavior evoked by bodily sounds (i.e., coughing, sneezing, sniffling, and clearing throat) for an adult with autism spectrum disorder. The intervention produced immediate reductions of problem behavior and the effects of treatment maintained during progressively lean schedules of reinforcement. The results of this study will be discussed in light of past research, along with limitations, and future directions for research and clinical practice.

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We wish to thank Alex Silva, Amber Shultz, Cristian Ceja, Ignacio Aviles, Juan Rafael, and Ken Nhu for their assistance with this study.

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Correspondence to Shaji S. Haq.

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Ethical approval: All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinski declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from the guardian of the participant included in this study.

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Haq, S.S., Alresheed, F. & Tu, J.C. Behavioral Treatment of Problem Behavior for an Adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Misophonia. J Dev Phys Disabil 33, 1005–1015 (2021).

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  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Fixed-time schedule
  • Misophonia
  • Problem behavior