Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Individuals with Autism

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is among the leading recommended interventions for individuals with autism. CBT focuses on the internal structures of the individual, encouraging him to become aware of the link between his emotions and actions. Individuals with autism are often affected by social impairments which limit their capacity to associate their feelings and actions. In addition, they often suffer from anxiety. Individuals with autism are wired to be anxious as a primary response to sensory stimuli, unfamiliar surroundings, change in schedule or circumstance, social interaction and verbal communication. CBT addresses this anxiety as well as related emotions and behaviors.

Who does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy work for?

CBT is most often recommended for high functioning individuals on the spectrum. Cognitive awareness requires communication capability that is near age appropriate typical development. It is not normally recommended for children under the age of eight. Young children are not candidates for CBT, because they do not have the necessary skills to benefit from treatment. However, once a child reaches the age of eight and demonstrates the basic communication skills required to beneficially participate in CBT, they can begin sessions with a qualified professional. Communication skill improvement and emotional awareness are reported to improve noticeably within only a few sessions and continue to progress throughout treatment.

CBT strategies

CBT strategies include the use of social stories and role playing in order to prompt the child to see their circumstances from the perspectives of others. CBT further encourages the child to develop the skills to soothe himself rather than depend upon external environmental factors. This promotes emotional growth and pro-social behavior skill development. One-on-one coaching for the client entails reducing anxiety by helping the client through a provocative experience. For example, if a client is drawn to watch television, but demonstrates extreme anxiety during commercials, the client would be taught to identify the anxious feelings and respond to them proactively. The client will be taught to use the mute button, rather than injure himself.

CBT can be administered by parents and educators under the supervision of a treating therapist. Since the tools for skill development which are key to CBT are educationally based, this therapy is ideally introduced in the child’s natural setting such as the classroom or the home.  Treatment is widely available due to these factors, and it is a relatively low in cost since a psychologist does not administer the intervention.

How long does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy take?

CBT is recommended for approximately twelve to eighteen weeks in duration, administered approximately twenty-five hours per week. These are hours that are completed with the professional, such as a teacher or speech therapist with parent participation. The average cost of this treatment is $150 per session, and insurance companies typically cover a significant percentage. Many insurance companies cover as much as half of the treatment cost. The session cost will also vary according to the selected professional. If a parent chooses to go with a doctor such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, the costs will be significantly higher than if they chose a more direct service professional.

Cognitive behavior therapy must be administered under the direct supervision of a qualified professional, so parents should beware of private service companies who do not have clear qualifications. Insurance companies will not cover the costs of unqualified provision centers. Lack of proper qualifications also puts the client with autism at risk of receiving mal-practice pare.

How effective is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavior therapy is a preference of many parents of children with autism. Many clients report growth and development of emotional intelligence and communication. This scientifically backed intervention is an ideal way to address some of the most common challenges associated with autism and other spectrum disorders.

Continue, Various Intervention Strategies For Autism and Duration of intervention and associated treatment costs for individuals with autism.

Detailed description can be found about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on wikipedia.

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