evaluation of trauma intervention for autistic individuals with or without intellectual disability

Autistic individuals are more vulnerable to trauma and to experience trauma symptoms. Trauma can involve all kinds of abuse and bullying or a one-off unpleasant event, such as a death or an accident. Other experiences or apparently insignificant events can also be experienced as very stressful and traumatic by autistic individuals. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a specific type of trauma intervention. Within EMDR, a distracting task, such as following the therapist’s moving fingers with the eyes, is used.

What? EMDR is a short-term, standardized intervention method to process unpleasant experiences and to reduce trauma symptoms.

For whom? Autistic children and adults with or without intellectual disability with trauma (related) symptoms

Why? To reduce trauma and stress and to restore emotional balance

What is the research about?

Which adaptations to the standard EMDR protocol are useful for autistic individuals?
Through a literature review and the collection of existing clinical guidelines and case materials, we will make an overview of possible adaptations and guidelines for the use of EMDR in autistic individuals. These guidelines can be used by trained EMDR therapists to adapt the intervention to the needs of autistic individuals.

What is the impact of EMDR on trauma symptoms in autistic children and adults?
We evaluate the effect of EMDR on trauma symptoms and well-being by means of a repeated single case study, i.e. closely following a small number of EMDR trajectories of autistic individuals. The people involved are both autistic children with or without intellectual disability and autistic adults.

In collaboration with

Expertisecentrum Autisme
Barbara Schot en Kris Evers
Tina Jacobs

Sven Destaerke en Nele Verschaeren

Marijke Van Imschoot

Contact person ACCA
Jarymke Maljaars