We have identified more than 40 studies of multi-component CBT programmes as an intervention for people on the autism spectrum published in peer-reviewed journals. (We have not included or evaluated studies looking at other interventions based on CBT, such as social stories or social skills groups which we have described and evaluated elsewhere.)
These studies included more than 1,500 individuals aged from pre-school to adult and included people with autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder - not otherwise specified. The majority of these studies looked at the treatment of mental health problems in primary school children and/or adolescents. Those mental health problems included various anxiety disorders (such as social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, agoraphobia, and non-specific anxiety disorder) as well as low mood or depression, self-harm, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and sleep problems.
The vast majority of the studies reported positive results.
Only two studies (Santomauro et al, 2016; and Storch et al, 2015 b) reported mixed or limited results.