Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Yale Child Study Center is conducting cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) research for irritability & disruptive behavior, as we as for anxiety in children with high functioning autism spectrum disorders (ASD). 

PI: Denis G. Sukhodolsky, Ph. D.

Irritability and Disruptive Behavior: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The Yale Child Study Center is conducting a research study of cognitive behavioral therapy for irritability and disruptive behavior in children with high functioning autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This is a psychological/ educational intervention that consists of ten one-hour individually administered sessions.

Purpose:

Although ASD involves difficulty in socialization and communication, children and adolescents with ASD may also have disruptive behavior problems. These problems may include anger outbursts, irritability or aggression are may require its own treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy has worked well in children with disruptive behavior problems, but it has not been well-evaluated for treating disruptive behavior in children with ASD. Therefore, this study will examine whether cognitive-behavior therapy is helpful for reducing disruptive behavior in children with high functioning ASD.

Criteria for Participation:
To be eligible for the study your child: 

• must be between the ages of 9 and 16 

• have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder 

• have disruptive behaviors such as irritability, anger, or argumentativeness 

• be on a stable dose of medication or not taking any medication 

Children who meet these and several other study inclusion criteria will receive ten weekly sessions of cognitive behavior therapy aimed at reduction of disruptive behavior and improving anger control skills. All children and parents who are involved in the study will be asked to fill out rating scales, questionnaires, and answer questions about symptoms and behavior relevant to this project.

Anxiety: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The Yale Child Study Center is conducting a research study of cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety in children with high functioning autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This is a psychological/ educational intervention that consists of 12 one-hour individually administered sessions. Participants will be also asked to complete functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) and electrophysiological (EEG) tasks before and after CBT.

Purpose:

Although ASD involves difficulty in socialization and communication, children with ASD may also have clinically significant levels of anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy has worked well for reducing anxiety in typically developing children and there is some evidence that it can be helpful for reducing anxiety in children with ASD. During CBT children are taught various skills for coping with anxiety and parents are taught various strategies for managing situations that can be anxiety provoking for their child. We are conducting this study to explore whether reduction of anxiety after CBT may be paralleled by change in the brain mechanisms of emotion regulation.

Criteria for Participation:
To be eligible for the study your child: 

• must be between the ages of 8 and 12 

• have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder 

• have clinically significant levels of anxiety 

• be on a stable dose of medication or not taking any medication 

• be able to complete fMRI and EEG research procedures 

Children who meet these and several other study inclusion criteria will receive 12 weekly sessions of cognitive behavior therapy aimed at reduction of anxiety and improving emotion regulation skills. All children and parents who are involved in the study will be asked to fill out rating scales, questionnaires, and answer questions about symptoms and behavior relevant to this project. Children will be asked to complete fMRI scans and EEG data collection sessions before and after CBT.

Contact:

For More Information:

Erin MacDonnell
(203) 737-3439
erin.macdonnell@yale.edu