Overview: This case report described a modified cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for an adolescent with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with severe, treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Conclusion: In adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder and autism spectrum disorder, modified cognitive behavioral therapy can be effective.
The prevalence of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is higher among young people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Case studies and randomized controlled trials show that modified cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be effective for young people with OCD and co-morbid ASD. This case study describes modified CBT for an adolescent with severe, treatment-resistant OCD and co-morbid ASD, and highlights the importance of family accommodation and parental mental health in pediatric OCD. Modifications to the standard evidence-based CBT for OCD protocol included extended psychoeducation, visual session material, mini exposure and response prevention hierarchies and parallel parent sessions to address familial accommodation and parental mental health. Progress was measured at seven times points throughout treatment using clinician administered, youth and parent self-report measures. Outcome data indicated significant improvements in OCD symptoms, general functioning, and maternal mental health as well as significant reductions in family accommodation. Gains were maintained over a 12-month follow-up period. This case study illustrates that modified CBT can be effective in youth with OCD and ASD and discusses the importance of familial accommodation and parental mental health.