Individuals who have high functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often report they experience obsessions and compulsions. Their demonstration and symptoms surprisingly are similar to those specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). There is very little research or literature on effective interventions for OCD-like behaviors (referred to as OCBs) in ASD. The researchers conducted this study to fill this research gap.

This study was a preliminary randomized controlled trial with a sample size of 14 people. Amanualized function-based cognitive-behavior therapy (Fb-CBT) consists of standard CBT components (psychoeducation and mapping, cognitive-behavioral skills training, exposure, and response prevention) and function-based behavioral assessment and intervention, significantly decreased OCBs in children with ASD at post-treatment and 5-month follow-up.

This multi-component treatment study demonstrated considerable promise, and a larger RCT is needed to validate further and expand these findings. Further research with larger sample size is required for an in-depth analysis of CBT’s function to treat OCD in children with ASD.