Special Education M.A.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Larson, Susan


This literature review with application thesis explores the prevalence of anxiety in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and dives into differentiating anxiety symptoms from ASD symptoms and provides tools for teachers to help reduce anxiety in the classroom. There is a high percentage of individuals with ASD that have co-occurring anxiety disorders, significantly impacting their everyday lives. Many characteristics of ASD present similarly to anxiety symptoms therefore, making it more difficult to differentiate between the two disorders. This paper highlights different symptoms, factors contributing to diagnosis, and treatment options for children and adolescents with ASD and anxiety. A review of the literature suggests that there is not one specific type of anxiety or one factor of anxiety that is associated with ASD. It has been found that anxiety and ASD symptoms are similar and anxiety can sometimes be under diagnosed. Finally, the literature review noted that typical anxiety treatment options were not as successful in individuals with ASD, but altered therapy results have been promising. The application emphasis of this thesis focuses on the need for awareness in recognizing anxiety in children and adolescents with ASD as well as, providing tools to implement in the classroom to reduce anxiety in an in-service staff training.

Degree Name

Special Education M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis