Conference exploring psychological interventions for children and young people with Anxiety, Depression and Autism (ASD) Conference
This varied and interactive one-day conference is aimed at a multi-disciplinary audience of clinicians, mental health professionals, support workers, and others with an interest in updating their knowledge around how best to support children and young people with autism (ASD) and anxiety/depression.
Lectures will cover topics such as the prevalence of anxiety and depression in ASD, current models of typical and atypical presentation, underlying mechanisms, the adaptation of CBT for ASD, Mindfulness for ASD, and the role of medication in facilitating psychological change in a multi-disciplinary setting.
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About the Speaker talks
Dr Ann Ozsivadjian
Anxiety and depression commonly co-occur with autism spectrum disorders, and yet these problems often go untreated, due to a number of factors including diagnostic overshadowing and difficulty in recognition and assessment. However there is now good research evidence demonstrating the high prevalence rates and sometimes atypical phenomenology of mental health problems in autism spectrum disorders; a number of randomised control trials have also been published, primarily using cognitive-behavioural treatment packages, with promising results.
Ann will present an overview of the current models of the presentation of anxiety and depression in ASD, as well as an in-depth presentation on adapting CBT for this population, including eliciting thoughts, use of metaphor and imagery restructuring. Video footage will be presented. This talk will aim to equip professionals delivering CBT for individuals with ASD with the skills for effective adaptation and an awareness of some of the potential challenges and pitfalls of therapy.
Dr Jacqui Rodgers
Around 50% of autistic individuals experience anxiety which impacts on daily living and quality of life. Difficulties dealing with uncertainty may have an important role to play in the development and maintenance of anxiety for autistic people. This presentation will explore the role that uncertainty has in anxiety in autism and how it may be addressed via interventions.
Ms Marianna Murin
The transition from primary to secondary school is an anxiety-provoking milestone for most children. Research shows that this transition tends to be particularly challenging for young people with ASD, being marked with high levels of emotional and behavioural difficulties, which persist even after the transition into secondary school. The Systemic Transition in Education Programme for ASD (STEP-ASD) is a new, manualised school intervention, aimed at guiding environmental modifications to support mainstream schools at becoming more accommodating for students with ASD. Our research evaluation provides promising initial evidence that STEP-ASD is both efficacious and feasible at reducing maladaptation during and after the transition to a secondary school.
Dr Sebastian Gaigg
Anxiety Disorders are around five times more common in ASD than in the general population and are widely recognised as an important treatment target due to the consequences for an individual’s quality of life and broader wellbeing. The effective delivery of treatments is complicated because the frequent necessity to interact with therapists is costly and also problematic because of the high demands on social-communication skills.
Following recent evidence, which suggests that difficulties in identifying and describing own emotions plays a critical role in anxiety in ASD, we have examined whether self-guided online mindfulness based therapies may provide effective relief from these difficulties. The implications of these findings for the management of anxiety in younger adolescents and children with autism will be discussed. Larger scale trials are now needed to fully validate these initial results. The implications of these findings for the management of anxiety in younger adolescents and children with autism will be discussed.