Interventions for Co-existing problems

The following advice is adapted from NICE Guideline CG170: Autism in under 19s: support and management [http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg170]

Offer psychosocial and pharmacological interventions for the management of coexisting mental health or medical problems in children and young people with autism in line with NICE guidance for children and young people, including:

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (NICE clinical guideline 72)

Conduct disorders in children and young people (NICE clinical guideline 158)

Constipation in children and young people (NICE clinical guideline 99)

Depression in children and young people (NICE clinical guideline 28)

Epilepsy (NICE clinical guideline 137)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) (NICE clinical guideline 31)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (NICE clinical guideline 26).

 

Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

If using cognitive-behaviour therapy to treat a coexisting condition (e.g. anxiety) this should be adapted to the needs of children with autism.

This could be group CBT which has been adapted for autism, or alternatively individual CBT if the children finds a group setting difficult.

The following adaptations are recommended:

  • emotion recognition training
  • greater use of written and visual information and structured worksheets
  • a more cognitively concrete and structured approach
  • simplified cognitive activities, for example, multiple-choice worksheets
  • involving a parent or carer to support the implementation of the intervention, for example, involving them in therapy sessions
  • maintaining attention by offering regular breaks
  • incorporating the child or young person's special interests into therapy if possible.