An Evaluation of Multi-Component Exposure Treatment of Needle Phobia in an Adult with Autism and Intellectual Disability

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Abstract

Background: Fear of medical procedures in general and needles in particular can be a difficult clinical challenge to providing effective health care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Methods: A changing criterion design was used to examine graduated exposure treatment for blood-injury-injection phobia in an adult male with autism and intellectual disability and a history of medical noncompliance. The additional contributions of differential reinforcement and a safety signal were also evaluated during treatment. Results: Compliance with needle-to-skin contact was achieved by the final criterion phase, and the behavior was maintained on follow-up. Differential reinforcement and a safety signal added to the quality of treatment but were successfully faded as treatment progressed. Conclusions: An exposure approach was effective in reducing phobic behavior and may be flexible enough to accommodate component changes and leaner reinforcement schedules applicable to real-world settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-348
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013

Keywords

  • Changing criterion design
  • Needle phobia
  • Safety signal

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