Research Article: Fear of routine physical exams in children with autism spectrum disorders prevalence and intervention effectiveness
Gillis, J., Natof, T., Locksin, S., & Romanczyk, R. (2009). Fear of routine physical exams in children with autism spectrum disorders prevalence and intervention effectiveness. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 24(3), 156-168. doi: 10.1177/1088357609338477
Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have a high prevalence of specific fears, including fear of general medical procedures, but research on the treatment of medical fears has been limited. Two studies are described in this article. The first study involved an assessment of the prevalence of fears associated with physical exams. Caregivers reported that a large proportion of children with ASD demonstrated obvious medical fears. An evaluation of a behavioral intervention designed to address these fears constituted the second study. Graduated in vivo exposure accompanied by reinforced practice and modeling decreased fear-related avoidance behavior in all participants, with 83% of participants completing the intervention successfully.