Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 49, Issue 8, pp 3309–3315 | Cite as

Treating Anxiety and Social Deficits in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Two Schools in Nairobi, Kenya

  • Niceta W. IreriEmail author
  • Susan W. White
  • Anne W. Mbwayo


Anxiety in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) contributes to their functional impairment. We evaluated a cognitive-behavioral program for anxiety and social deficits in children with ASD in two schools in Nairobi City, Kenya. Parents and teachers of 40 children and adolescents with ASD (5–21 years) participated, randomized by school. The two schools were randomly assigned to either intervention (n = 20) or control (n = 20). There was a significant improvement in ASD severity as well as anxiety within the treatment group, which was not seen in the control group. These findings support the expansion of treatments for ASD core deficits and secondary problems in youth with ASD in developing countries.


Autism Anxiety Social skills Intervention Comorbidity 



We are grateful to the students, parents, and teachers who participated in this study.

Author Contributions

NWI conceived of the study, participated in its design, coordination and data collection and drafted the manuscript and performed the statistical analysis; SWW participated in the design of the study, assisted with statistical analysis and interpretation, and writing of manuscript; AWM participated in the design and interpretation of the data. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no potential conflicts of interest.

Research Involved Human Rights

The research involved human participants.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained prior to data collection.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niceta W. Ireri
    • 1
    Email author
  • Susan W. White
    • 2
  • Anne W. Mbwayo
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, School of EducationAfrica International UniversityNairobiKenya
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry, School of MedicineUniversity of NairobiNairobiKenya

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