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Training Clinicians in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Principal Investigator:
Rebecca
Landa

Children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are at greater risk for developing mental health problems, particularly anxiety symptoms. Previous studies have demonstrated reductions in anxiety symptoms in children with ASD following the delivery of specific Cognitive behavioral treatments (CBT) interventions. Recently published studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of a modified group CBT intervention, called “Face Your Fears” (FYF). To further enhance acceptability of the FYF intervention, it is important to identify the instruction methods necessary for the intervention to be delivered reliably. There is one main goal for this proposal. This is: to identify an optimal training model for clinicians in the delivery of the manualized, modified CBT intervention for anxiety (FYF) by comparing three different training methods for the intervention.

CBT group therapy is currently standard of care for patients at the CARD clinic who have ASD and anxiety. Participants will be patients who are receiving group CBT as standard of care in the CARD clinic, which utilizes the FYF curriculum, who are asked to participate in the research study which will involve testing and data collection beyond their standard of care treatment. Research specific procedures that are not standard of care include study baseline testing, completion of two brief research questionnaires after each clinic CBT group session (14 weeks plus one booster session), study post testing and a follow up survey. The research procedures are further described in the protocol. Patients will be randomized to the different groups depending on their placement on the waiting list for these clinic groups. The effectiveness of the FYF groups has already been studied and proven to be effective for children with ASD and Anxiety. This study is not being done to test the effectiveness of the FYF group, but to evaluate the most optimal clinician training model for the FYF group.

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