Mental health difficulties, such as anxiety, are common in people with autism. Here at Newcastle we are trying to develop effective ways of identifying and treating anxiety in ASD.
One of our projects involves the use of virtual reality environments to treat phobias in young people with autism.
The use of this type of technology enables people with ASD to develop strategies to reduce their anxiety whilst experiencing the situation they find difficult in a safe controlled environment, before trying out those strategies in the real world. The promising findings of this ‘Blue Room project’ were recently published. We are also working closely with parents to develop interventions for young people with ASD which focus on reducing intolerance of uncertainty, a thinking style closely related to the development of anxiety.
Working with parents of young children with ASD we are also focusing on the development of an intervention to help parents to manage their child's repetitive behaviours.
Newcastle University staff and students linked to the project:
- Dr Jacqui Rodgers
- Prof Mark Freeston
- Dr Jeremy Parr
- Prof Anne Le Couteur
- Prof Helen McConachie
- Dr Morag Maskey
- Dr Sarah Wigham