Description: Parents receive training with the goal of being able to take an active role in their child’s intervention and expand upon their child’s learning. Training is intended to help parents teach their child in a variety of environments, take advantage of naturally occurring learning opportunities, and encourage their child to be successful and independent in daily life.

Research Summary: Many studies have found parent training for individuals with autism to be effective in a variety of ways such as decreasing non-productive behavior, increasing intake of non-preferred foods, enhancing functional communication, improving compliance with parental requests, and teaching imitation of actions with objects. One study showed that parent education and skill training was beneficial to parents’ mental health and well-being.

Recommendations: Numerous studies have demonstrated that parent training produces short-term improvements in specific target behaviors. Additional research is needed to replicate these results with large samples of participants, with more global and long-term measures of outcome. Additional research on training parents how to increase the independence and self-help skills of their children with autism also would be beneficial.

Selected References:

Systematic reviews of scientific studies:

Diggle, T., McConachie, H. R., & Randle, V. T. (2003). Parent-mediated early intervention for young children with autism spectrum disorder [Electronic Version]. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Odom, S. L. Brown, W. H., Frey, T., Karasu, N., Smith-Canter, L. L., & Strain, P. S. (2003). Evidence-based practices for young children with autism: Contributions for single-subject design research. Focus of Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 18, 166-175.

Selected scientific studies:

Bearss, K., Johnson, C., Smith, T., Lecavalier, L., Swiezy, N., Aman, M., . . . Scahill, L. (2015). Effect of parent training vs parent education on behavioral problems in children with autism spectrum disorder: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA, 313(15), 1524-1533.

Tonge et al. (2006). Effects on parent mental health of an education and skills training program for parents of young children with autism: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 45, 561-569.

Related Article:

A randomised group comparison of parent education and skills training intervention

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