Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mindfulness In Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorders-Guest Post

Guest post by: Dr. Annelies Spek. She writes at : Autism and

Information about the author:

Dr. Annelies Spek is clinical psychologist and senior researcher at the adult autism center in the southof the Netherlands (Eindhoven). Her Ph D thesis was entitled: cognitive profiles of adults with high functioning autism (HFA) or Asperger syndrome. Now she examines the effects of treatment in adults with autism. She also gives lectures about diagnosis and treatment in adults with autism.

Furthermore, she gives mindfulness training to adults with autism and she developed a training program for clinician s (who work with adults with autism) on this subject. For more information about (mindfulness in) adults with autism: here- mail address is

The original book ‘Mindfulness in adults with autism’, has not been translated in English yet. If you would like to be informed about this in the future, send me an email. If you have any ideas that might help to have the book translated in English, please contact me!

Kind regards,
Annelies Spek


Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder that affects functioning in multiple  areas. Recent studies show that autism is often accompanied by other psychiatric  symptoms, including depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, inattention and distress in general. Evidence suggests that depression is the most common psychiatric  disorder seen in autism (Ghaziuddin et al., 2002). Especially adults with relatively high cognitive ability seem at risk for developing symptoms of depression, possibly because they are more aware of expectations of the outside world and their inability to meet those.

Symptoms of depression in adults with autism seem different than in other individuals, ranging from irritability to an increase in difficulty with change and sensitivity for sensory stimuli (Ghaziuddin et al., 2002). An important aspect of depression and distress in people with autism is the tendency to ruminate. This can be described as a drive to think repetitively and experiencing difficulty to let thoughts go. For instance, adults with autism often lay awake at night, pondering about the events of the day and analyzing those in detail. The tendency of people with autism to ruminate appears related to the detailed information processing style that characterizes autism.