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Co-occurring anxiety disorders affect 40 to 50% of children with autism spectrum disorder, contributing to substantial distress and impairment. Personalized cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found to be effective for this underserved group, but it is not readily available currently, and the core treatment mechanisms are not well understood.
The Harris Center, Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill is proud to announce an awarded grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to implement a cognitive behavioral therapy intervention and clinician training protocol called CAPTA (Community-based Anxiety Program Tailored for Autism).
The program will work to treat youth with anxiety and autism and will be employed in community mental health settings. Researchers will then evaluate clients’ preliminary response to the treatment. Drs. Eric Storch and Andrew Guzick are leading the project at Baylor College of Medicine while Dr. Rinita Roberts, Dr. Sylvia Muzquiz, and Tiffanie Williams-Brooks are project champions at The Harris Center.
The project will include three phases. To start, researchers will conduct a needs assessment with parents of youth with autism spectrum disorder and co-occurring anxiety, community mental health clinicians, and community mental health clinic leaders. They will also consult with an Advisory Board of experts in cognitive behavioral therapy for co-occurring anxiety in youth with autism spectrum disorder and individuals with lived experience. This feedback from stakeholders and experts will directly inform adaptations to CAPTA.
The next stage will be a small open trial comprised of 10 individuals, with the goal of obtaining real-world experience and refining the treatment and measurement protocols. A pilot randomized controlled trial with 60 participants will follow, in which CAPTA will be compared to usual care in two different community-based mental health centers. Researchers will examine CAPTA’s preliminary effectiveness to improve anxiety symptom severity and impairment and will also explore theoretically oriented treatment mechanisms. Lastly, researchers will assess implementation outcomes such as fidelity, feasibility, acceptability and contextual factors influencing CAPTA implementation and sustainment.
In the future, researchers plan to progress to a larger hybrid effectiveness-implementation trial to further scale the program.
CAPTA Project Leaders at The Harris Center
Rinita Roberts, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist VI
Sylvia Muzquiz-Drummond, M.D., Vice President of Mental Health Medical Services
Tiffanie Williams-Brooks, Director of Child and Adolescent Services
Every October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is “The Right Talent, Right Now.” As part of this month’s activities, The Harris Center is highlighting our recent summer internship collaboration with the H.E.A.R.T. Program.For many individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), finding jobs out in the “real world” may not always come easy. As part of The Harris Center’s commitment to transform the lives of people with IDD, the agency recently collaborated with the H.E.A.R.T. Program to provide summer internships to individuals with IDD to allow them the opportunity to gain hands-on work experience across our agency’s various programs.
August 17, 2021 - Holmusk, a leading global data science and health technology company building the world’s largest Real-World Evidence (RWE) platform for behavioral health, has signed data license agreements with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD (The Harris Center) in Harris County, Texas.
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The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD, in cooperation with Harris County Probate Court 3 and the University of Houston, has received a grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for an Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) program for people with serious mental illness.
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The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD strives to provide high quality, efficient, and cost effective services so that persons with mental disabilities may live with dignity as fully functioning, participating, and contributing members of our community, regardless of their ability to pay based on a sliding scale rate schedule.
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