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A Randomized Clinical Trial of Cognitive Enhancement Therapy for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Annual rept. 30 Sep 2012-29 Sep 2013

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This project is focused on conducting the first randomized-controlled trial of Cognitive Enhancement Therapy CET in 54 verbal adults with autism spectrum disorders, and assessing the efficacy of this approach in comparison to an active Enriched Supportive Therapy EST intervention. Major findings to date include 1 considerable and broad cognitive impairments at baseline testing in the ASD adults enrolled in this trial n 40, and 2 initial evidence of the effectiveness of CET in ameliorating deficits and enhancing adaptive function. Despite normal or higher levels of intelligence, this sample was performing at the 32th percentile on overall neurocognitive function with at least one domain score below the 1 in most individuals, indicating a clear need for cognitive rehabilitation. Preliminary analyses of treatment effects suggest a significant advantage of CET for improving social cognition d .63, neurocognition d .66, and major role function d .76 compared to the EST control condition. In addition, analyses of changes in brain function have indicated significant increases in brain activity supporting theory of mind and emotion regulation abilities in participants treated with CET compared EST. These findings suggest both the need and potential for CET to be a significant treatment advance for verbal adults with autism. Importantly, improvements were found in daily life function and in brain circuitry supporting core abilities.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research

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