Cognitive-Behavioral Approach for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: a Meta-Analysis

Betty P V Ho*, Jennifer Stephenson, Mark Carter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This meta-analysis examined studies reporting on randomized controlled trials of the use of cognitive-behavioral approaches to intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder. Ten studies involving 402 children were located. The majority of the participants (mean age of 10.5 years) were high functioning, and all full-scale IQ scores reported for the individual participants were at or above 70. All interventions were administered by therapists in clinical settings, and most targeted anxiety and related issues. There was considerable variation in the intervention components used, the total training hours spent, and the modalities and time span over which the interventions were delivered. A large and statistically significant effect size was obtained from the meta-analysis, and extreme care is required in its interpretation because of substantial heterogeneity. There were some concerns about the use of child and parent reports as outcome measures and the quality of some studies. Further research is needed to investigate the feasibility of cognitive-behavioral approaches for low-functioning children with ASD by teachers in school settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-33
Number of pages16
JournalReview Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2014


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Children
  • Cognitive-behavioral
  • Meta-analysis

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