Review of Interventions for Inclusion of Children With ASD and Anxiety in Education

  •  Christine K. Syriopoulou-Delli    
  •  Stavroula A. Polychronopoulou    
  •  Gerasimos A. Kolaitis    
  •  Alexandros-Stamatios G. Antoniou    


BACKGROUND: Anxiety is one of the most common accompanying symptoms in people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and may compound the difficulties they experience in social inclusion.

OBJECTIVE: Review of methods and programs that have been developed for the management of anxiety symptoms in individuals with ASD, to help them cope with their social environment, and in particular, school.

METHODS: A search for papers published from the 1980s to 2017 was made in PubMed and in the official websites of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the American Association of Anxiety and Depression, UCLA PEERS, Sutherland House School and Autism Speaks, and in the US National Institute of Health (NIH) publications. In addition, other resources were found in the library of the University of Macedonia and the Greek National Research Foundation.

RESULTS: The search revealed papers on anxiety in ASD and its treatment, and three reports of training programs that had been developed specifically for enhancement of the inclusion of people with ASD and anxiety. The papers were reviewed with a view to identifying the components that decrease anxiety and have long-term effects in curtailing social exclusion. Programs incorporating a variety of methods, including intervention in the school curriculum, development of CBT and other psycho-social approaches and promotion of family support, can all increase awareness of anxiety stimuli and lead to successful and sustained management of anxiety symptoms and enhanced social inclusion. Assessment of anxiety in children and young people with ASD is imperative, and efficacy of the intervention needs to be evaluated using evidence-based measurement.

CONCLUSION: Intervention programs based on recognition and management of anxiety symptoms can increase the possibilities for adaptation and social inclusion of children and young people with ASD. Evaluation of the efficacy of interventions is an area that requires attention.

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