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(FIRST) Facing Your Fears in School Settings: Implementing a CBT Program for Students with ASD or Other Special Learning Needs


  • Middle Childhood (6-11 years)
  • Adolescence (12-18 years)

Targeted/Underserved Population

  • African American
  • Hispanic/Latino
  • Special Health Care Needs


Brief Overview: Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are at high risk for developing clinically significant anxiety. Anxiety markedly interferes with peer relationships, family functioning and participation in academic programming. Youth with ASD demonstrate significant reductions in anxiety following participation in treatments rooted in evidence-based practice (EBP) such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). Our treatment program, Facing Your Fears (FYF), is one such EBP. However, substantial disparities in access to psychiatric services exist, particularly for youth from minority and/or low income families. Schools may be the ideal location to access these services because they represent one of the only consistent resources available to many lowresourced families. Measurable Objectives and How the Project will be Accomplished: 1. Adapt FYF for low income, racially and ethnically diverse students in Colorado via iterative processes with multi-level key stakeholders. *Create an Advisory Board of multi-level key stakeholders and conduct focus groups of key stakeholders from each school district to adapt FYF. 2. Implement FYF-School Based (FYF-SB) in low income, diverse school settings and assess treatment effectiveness for students ages 8-12 with significant deficits in reciprocal social behavior and anxiety, who are served on an IEP. *Train 90 cross-disciplinary teams of District Consultants (e.g., school psychologists, special educators, etc.) to conduct 3 cohorts of FYF-SB for each district using a "train the trainer" model to build capacity and to maximize sustainability. *Randomize schools (n=30) across three districts to one of two conditions: 1) FYF-SB; or 2) Usual Care; assess implementation (e.g., feasibility, penetration, sustainability) and treatment outcomes (e.g., anxiety reduction) on 108 students. 3. Examine whether organizational factors impact implementation and student treatment outcomes. *Collect data on principal leadership and attitudes towards EBPs.


Listed is descending order by year published.

Reaven J, Reyes N, Pickard K, Tanda T, Morris MA. Addressing the Needs of Diverse Youth with ASD and Anxiety in Public Schools: Stakeholder Input on Adaptations of Clinic-Based Facing Your Fears. School Mental Health.

Reyes NM, Pickard K, Reaven J. Emotion regulation: A treatment target for Autism Spectrum Disorder Bulletin of the Minnenger Clinic. Volume 83 (3). 299-329.

Pickard K, Reyes N, Reaven J. Examining the inclusion of diverse participants in cognitive behavior therapy research for youth with autism specturm disorder and anxiety. Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice

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