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Multisystemic Therapy for Disruptive Behavior Problems in Youths With Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Progress Report

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Abstract

Youths with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) often engage in serious disruptive behaviors that interfere with their ability to successfully manage day-to-day responsibilities and contribute to relationship problems with caregivers, peers, and teachers. Effective treatments are needed to address the factors linked with disruptive behavior problems in this population of youths. Multisystemic therapy (MST) is a comprehensive family- and community-based treatment approach that has been effective with other difficult-to-treat populations of youths and holds promise for youths with ASD. In this article, we review the broad range of factors associated with disruptive behaviors among youths with ASD and discuss how MST interventions can be adapted to address those factors. We also present a framework for our adaptation of the MST model for youths with ASD. This framework includes a recently completed pilot study as well as an ongoing efficacy trial that together have served to identify key interventions for our adaptation of the MST model.

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