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Keywords:

  • autism;
  • diabetes;
  • fading;
  • medical non-compliance;
  • needle phobia;
  • systematic desensitization

Stimulus fading in the form of gradually increased exposure to a fear-evoking stimulus, often combined with differential reinforcement, has been used to treat phobias in children who are otherwise normal and in children with autism. In this investigation, we applied stimulus fading plus differential reinforcement with an adolescent with autism and diabetes whose needle phobia had prevented medical monitoring of his blood glucose levels for over 2 years. Results showed that the treatment was successful in obtaining daily blood samples for measuring glucose levels.