Investigators Current Studies Cognitive Enhancement Therapy Completed Studies Infant Siblings of ASD Children Categorization in Children & Adults With Autism Emotion Processing Imaging/fMRI Autism Treatment Network Autism Task Force+



Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET) and Enriched Supportive Therapy (EST) for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders


Intervention Study

Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET) was developed in the 1990's by Professor G.E. Hogarty for the treatment of social and non-social cognitive impairments in schizophrenia.  The positive findings of CET in schizophrenia led the investigators and other researchers to consider the potential applicability of the intervention to other disorders that are characterized by core deficits in information processing and social cognition.   Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)  were viewed as primary candidates due to their chronic and debilitating nature, the presence of pervasive impairments in social cognition and the lack of available interventions for adults with ASD.  In 2009, CET investigators began collaborating with University of Pittsburgh CeFAR director, Dr. Nancy Minshew to adapt and conduct the initial feasibility studies of CET in ASD.   An ongoing randomized-controlled trial is currently being conducted at the University of Pittsburgh to confirm these findings and establish the evidence base for CET in verbal adults with ASD. This research study is designed to examine the potential benefits of two novel non-drug interventions.  Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET) and Enriched Supportive Therapy (EST), in the treatment of adults with autism spectrum disorders.


CET is a comprehensive rehabilitation intervention designed to improve the social and non-social cognitive impairments that limit adaptive function and quality of life in certain neurodevelopmental disorders.  The treatment integrates computer-based cognitive exercises in attention, memory and problem-solving with social-cognitive group training designed to improve perspective-taking, social context appraisal, emotion perception and management, and other key aspects of social cognition. Through these integrated activities, CET addresses the core neurocognitive and social-cognitive deficits experienced by verbal adults with autism spectrum disorders.


EST is an individual supportive therapy approach that helps adults learn about their condition, manage their emotions and stress, improve their social skills and cope with everyday problems.


Eligible participants will be randomly selected for either CET or EST and treated for 18 months with weekly visits to the University of Pittsburgh. Cognitive, behavioral and neurobiological measures are collected to examine the efficacy of the two approaches in the treatment of adults with autism spectrum disorders.





















This short story will give you more information about the procedures/activities involved in participation in the Perspectives Program.

To view the story,  "Click" on the photo.


The Perspectives Program research is highlighted on the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) website at


Webster Hall, Suite 300, 3811 O’Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 • Toll Free 1-866-647-3436 • Phone 412-246-5485 • Fax 412-246-5470

All Inquiries including Dr. Minshew:
2006 CeFAR at the University of Pittsburgh • Site last updated September, 2012