Place of cognitive remedition therapy in the management of autism spectrum disorder

1Melek Hajri, Zeineb Abbes, Houda Ben Yahia, Mariem Boudali, Meriem Hamza, Asma Bouden, Ali Mrabet and Isabelle Amado

1Razi University Hospital


Background : Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is known to be associated with Cognitive impairment, especially executive dysfunction. Cognitive Remediation Therapy (CRT) is a novel rehabilitation method aiming to produce improvement in cognitive processes. CRT has been used in patients with schizophrenia. Taking into account the overlap between ASD and schizophrenia, the aim of our study was to adapt and apply the cognitive remediation program CRT for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder, and evaluate its effectiveness on the executive functions, clinical symptoms and school performance. Methods: A cross-sectional study conducted with children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder according to the DSM-5 criteria. The program called CRT was provided at the rate of one session (duration = 45 minutes) per week. The patients were evaluated before the beginning of the intervention and one week after its end. The evaluated parameters were intellectual abilities, cognitive flexibility, inhibition, working memory, planning, clinical symptoms and school results.Results: Twenty-five subjects were included. 16 patients completed the program. After cognitive remediation, children showed significant improvement in intellectual abilities (p<10-3), scores of phonemic flexibility (p = 0.027), working memory (p = 0.003 for the forward digit-span and p = 0.003 for the backward digit-span), clinical symptoms (p<10-3) and school results (p = 0.001). Conclusion : The cognitive remediation is a promising technique that can be effective in the management of children with autism spectrum disorder.


Autism, Child, Cognitive remediation, Cognitive Remediation Therapy, Executive function.

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