The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate whether a modified version of the Coping Cat program could be effective in reducing anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Twenty-two children (ages 8-14; IQ ≥ 70) with ASD and clinically significant anxiety were randomly assigned to 16 sessions of the Coping Cat program (cognitive-behavioral therapy; CBT) or a 16-week waitlist. Children in the CBT condition evidenced significantly larger reductions in anxiety than those in the waitlist. Treatment gains were largely maintained at two-month follow-up. Results provide preliminary evidence that a modified version of the Coping Cat program may be a feasible and effective program for reducing clinically significant levels of anxiety in children with high-functioning ASD.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01187784.