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J Autism Dev Disord. 2019 May;49(5):1912-1927. doi: 10.1007/s10803-018-3861-x.

A Randomised Controlled Feasibility Trial of Immersive Virtual Reality Treatment with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Specific Phobias in Young People with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Author information

1
Institute of Neuroscience, Sir James Spence Institute Level 3, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4LP, UK.
2
Complex Neurodevelopmental Disorders Service, Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
3
Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
4
Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
5
Business Development and Enterprise, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
6
Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation, Trust, UK.
7
Institute of Neuroscience, Sir James Spence Institute Level 3, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4LP, UK. jeremy.parr@ncl.ac.uk.
8
Complex Neurodevelopmental Disorders Service, Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. jeremy.parr@ncl.ac.uk.

Abstract

We examined the feasibility and acceptability of using an immersive virtual reality environment (VRE) alongside cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for young people with autism experiencing specific phobia. Thirty-two participants were randomised to treatment or control. Treatment involved one session introducing CBT techniques and four VRE sessions, delivered by local clinical therapists. Change in target behaviour was independently rated. Two weeks after treatment, four treatment participants (25%) and no control participants were responders; at 6 months after treatment, six (38%) treatment and no control participants were responders. At 6 months post-treatment, symptoms had worsened for one treatment and five control (untreated) participants. Brief VRE exposure with CBT is feasible and acceptable to deliver through child clinical services and is effective for some participants.

KEYWORDS:

Anxiety; Autism; Cognitive behaviour therapy; Fear; Phobia; Virtual reality

PMID:
30767156
PMCID:
PMC6484088
DOI:
10.1007/s10803-018-3861-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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