Emotional Awareness and Skills Enhancement Study for ASD (EASE)

Dr. Carla Mazefsky, PhD – University of Pittsburgh

Although there is clearly an urgent need for effective interventions to support emotional control and emotional well-being in ASD, the currently available options are very limited. Psychotherapeutic intervention approaches predominantly focus on the use of one specific technique called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat one specific issue, e.g. anxiety in ASD. Issues such as explosive behavior, irritability, meltdowns, social withdrawal or shutting down, and feelings of sadness and depression are not adequately addressed by current approaches. We have adopted a broader approach that targets the underlying process that we believe contributes to all of these issues – emotion regulation.

Poor emotional control is a problem for many children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), but the behavioral and neural underpinnings of this problem are not well understood. This research study will evaluate a new treatment to improve emotion regulation in adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) who struggle with handling their emotions. This study includes individuals between the ages of 12 and 21 years old who have an ASD and difficulties with their emotions and who do not have any developmental or mental health problems.

Participants will be randomized to either EASE Therapy or Supportive Therapy.  Both programs involve 16 weekly individual therapy sessions.

EASE is no longer accepting participants at this time. 

EASE for All

Dr. Carla Mazefsky, PhD – University of Pittsburgh

The EASE for All project goal is to gather information on viewpoints of emotion regulation and services developed to treat emotion regulation. This data will help us to better understand the needs of the those with autism and their families in order to develop and implement treatment options for emotion regulation within the community.  The study will involve interviews and/or focus groups lasting approximately 1 hour with each of the following three groups:

  1. Adults with ASD
  2. Caregivers of Adolescents and Adults with ASD
  3. Community Service Providers