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Case Reports in Psychiatry
Volume 2011, Article ID 241095, 5 pages
Case Report

Modified Exposure and Response Prevention to Treat the Repetitive Behaviors of a Child with Autism: A Case Report

1Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2050 Bondurant Hall, Campus Box 7122, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7120, USA
2Clinical Services and Training, The Groden Center, 86 Mount Hope Avenue, Providence, RI 02906, USA
3Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, Campus Box 7255, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
4Department of Psychiatry, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, USA

Received 25 May 2011; Accepted 16 June 2011

Academic Editors: D. E. Dietrich, D. Matsuzawa, and M. Thompson

Copyright © 2011 Brian A. Boyd et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We report the case study of a school-aged child with autism whose repetitive behaviors were treated with a modified version of a technique routinely used in cognitive behavior therapy (i.e., exposure response prevention) to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder. A trained behavioral therapist administered the modified ERP treatment over the course of an intensive two-week treatment period with two therapy sessions occurring daily. The treatment was successful at decreasing the amount of child distress and cooccurring problem behavior displayed; however, the child's interest in the repetitive behavior eliciting stimulus (i.e., puzzles) remained. The case study demonstrates specific ways that exposure response prevention strategies can be adapted to the unique kinds of repetitive behaviors that present clinically in autism. A larger clinical trial is needed to substantiate these findings.