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Sukhodolsky Lab

Overview

The Sukhodolsky lab conducts research on behavioral treatments for children with autism spectrum disorder, anxiety disorder, irritability, OCD, and Tourette syndrome. We investigate both how well different behavioral therapies work, and how they change the brain.

We have two current studies of interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder. One study investigates the neural mechanisms of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety in autism, and the other study investigates the efficacy of a behavior therapy for irritability and/or disruptive behaviors in autism. During these studies, children receive comprehensive assessment of autism and 15 weekly sessions of therapy. In the CBT for anxiety study, children complete functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) before and after treatment.

Other current studies in our lab include a multi-site, longitudinal study of gender differences and adult transitions in youth with autism. Interventions we have studied in the past include CBT for anger and aggression in children, parent training for disruptive behavior in children with autism, and behavior therapy for tics in children and adults with Tourette syndrome.

The Sukhodolsky Lab is led by Denis Sukhodolsky, PhD, Associate Professor in the Child Study Center.

Participant Eligibility/Benefits

The Sukhodolsky Lab is seeking to enroll new participants in three studies:

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Anxiety and Autism.

Participant eligibility:

  • 8-14 years old
  • Autism and anxiety (e.g., fears, feeling tense, being nervous, worrying too much)
  • Ability to complete study procedures, including fMRI

Benefits:

  • Comprehensive assessment of autism
  • 15 weekly sessions of therapy (remote or in-person) free of charge
  • Payment for participation up to $350

2. Behavior Therapy for Irritability in Autism

Participant eligibility:

  • 12-18 years old
  • Autism and irritability / disruptive behaviors (e.g., anger outbursts, noncompliance, being easily frustrated, difficulty following directions)

Benefits:

  • Comprehensive assessment of autism
  • 15 weekly sessions of therapy (remote or in-person) free of charge
  • Payment for participation up to $250

3. Brain Mechanisms of Social and Emotional Development

Participant eligibility:

  • 8-14 years old
  • No anxiety disorder or other mental health concerns
  • Ability to complete study procedures, including fMRI

Benefits:

  • Payment for participation up to $140

Research Interest

The effectiveness and neural mechanisms of behavior therapy for neurodevelopmental disorders.

IRB Study Titles

  • Cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) for anxiety in children with autism (HIC# 1211011144)
  • CBT for disruptive behavior in children across diagnostic categories (RDoC study; HIC# 0102012121a)
  • Behavior therapy for irritability in children with autism (HIC# 0102012121b)
  • Pivotal Response Treatment for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (HIC# 2000021581)

Contact Information

Study Coordinator: Rebecca Jordan
Email: rebecca.jordan@yale.edu
Phone: (203) 737-7664

Principal Investigator: Denis Sukhodolsky
Email: denis.sukhodolsky@yale.edu
Phone: (203) 785-6446