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Facing Your Fears

Facing Your Fears is a family-based cognitive behavioural programme designed to reduce anxiety in children on the autism spectrum.

The program is designed to help children and adolescents on the autism spectrum manage anxiety symptoms that are interfering with daily life.

The original FYF intervention was written and developed specifically for children (ages 8-14) on the autism spectrum. The Facing Your Fears-Adolescent Version (FYF-A) was developed specifically for adolescents on the autism spectrum.

The program usually takes place over 14 weekly sessions of 90 minutes delivered by appropriate professionals (such as clinical psychologists) in a group setting.  Each session includes large-group activities (children and parents together), small-group activities (children alone; parents alone), and dyadic work (children/teen pairs).

Specific sessions look at elements such as anxiety symptoms and the implementation and generalization of specific strategies to treat anxiety (i.e., expanding calming activities, recognizing automatic negative thoughts, developing coping statements, and engaging in graded exposure tasks-or facing fears a little at a time).

The parent component of FY includes varoius elements such as (1) psychoeducation; (2) parent coaching; (3) a focus on the interaction between parental anxiety, parenting style, and the maintenance of anxiety symptoms; (4) discussion of the social/communicative challenges inherent in ASD and how these challenges may contribute to a protective parenting style.

Facing Your Fears was developed by Reaven and others at the University of Colorado in the USA.

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The fact that an intervention is listed in this glossary does not necessarily mean that we agree with its use. Nor does it necessarily mean that there is any scientifically valid or reliable evidence behind it.