The Autism Society Event and Education Recordings Archive

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5355 Promoting Parent Training and Education In Autism Treatment [BCBA Session] [ASHA Session]

Saturday, July 9, 2011: 10:45 AM-12:00 PM
Sun A (Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center)
Parent involvement in the education of children with autism is best practice, resulting in developmental gains in the areas of communication, behavior, adaptive skills, and generalization of skills. This presentation discusses inclusion and integration of parents during in-home programming, culturally competent practice and parent coaching as a consultative service to in-home programming. Promoting Parent Training and Education in Autism Treatment

Parent involvement in the education of children with autism is considered best-practice (National Research Council, 2001).  Learning and development are enhanced when parents develop skills in facilitating interactions and managing behaviors. Specifically, parent education results in significant developmental gains in the areas of communication, behavior, adaptive skills, and generalization of previously learned skills (Koegel et. al, 1984). Caregivers also directly benefit from parent education through reduced parent stress and depression, enhanced parent-child interaction, increased positive parent affect, and increased time for leisure and recreational activities (Bristol, et. al, 1993).  In the current political and economic climate, parent involvement is both a best practice approach and, often, a mandated component of applied behavior analytic intervention for children with autism.  Participants in will learn the components of empirically based, effective parent education programs.  The first portion of the presentation discusses inclusion and integration of parents during in-home ABA programming.  Culturally competent parent education and support services are the focus of the second portion.  Finally, parent coaching as a consultative service to in home programming will be covered. These three topics represent a conceptual framework of integrated service provision.

Partners in Education: Integration of Parents in Home Based Programming

When parents are active participants in their child’s intervention developmental and family outcomes are improved (Schriebman & Koegel, 2005). This presentation discusses a joint parent-provider model of in home applied behavior analytic intervention.  The philosophical basis of this approach assumes the goal of intervention is not only to teach skills in isolated therapy sessions, but also to promote skill development with others in the child’s life, most especially families and caregivers.  This model emphasizes the role of caregivers in providing generalization opportunities for their children’s skills and serving as pivotal members of their child’s educational team.  When participating in services using this model, caregivers are expected to take an active role in their child’s intervention within the context of everyday routines and activities.  To ensure that parents are able to make informed choices and generalize treatment goals outside of sessions a systematic parent education and training component is integrated in to all aspects of the program.  

Improving Culturally Competent Practice: A Beginning Framework

Behavior therapists encounter clients/families from various cultural backgrounds daily.  Evidence-based practices are clear about the importance of developing rapport and trust with clients (McPhatter 1997).  However, our efforts at rapport building can be significantly compromised by breakdowns caused by differences between parent and provider cultural perspective. Dana et al (1992) describe cultural competence as “an ability to provide services that are perceived as legitimate for problems experienced by culturally diverse persons”. This presentation analyzes the literature on effective ways to achieve cross-cultural parent training, specifically examining the rituals of parenting considering cultural factors such as language, moral values, rules and laws, beliefs, and traditions (Christianens, Baccker, Baerheim et al. 2004).  Additional family characteristics which can influence parent-provider relationships will also be presented including: education, social status, occupation and income.

Ancillary Support for an Autism Intervention Program: A Parent Coaching Model

This presentation describes a family education program designed to teach primary caregivers about critical features of behavior management and child development.  The program is based on the belief that parents and family members with whom children with autism interact every day are in the best position to help their children learn to communicate and interact more successfully.  The family education program is designed to be a short term, intensive training program implemented through dynamic teaching techniques involving presentations, hands-on learning opportunities, and video demonstrations.  With effective coaching, families can learn to understand their child’s behavior, respond with appropriate best practice techniques, become active participants in analyzing their child’s behavior, assist to develop an intervention plan, and implement the plan.   Parents should also become more familiar with the language and concepts of intervention used by professionals, empowering them to make informed decisions about their child’s education.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to identify three methods of including families in home based ASD treatment.
  • Participants will further expand their knowledge of the empirical support of parent education.

Content Area: Life with Autism


Matthew J. McAlear, M.Ed., BCBA
Vice President and Chief Program Officer
Easter Seals Bay Area

Matthew McAlear is Vice President and Chief Program Officer for Easter Seals Bay Area. He has dedicated his career to developing programs for individuals with disabilities and their families. He has presented at conferences on the local, national and international levels around the therapeutic and educational needs of children with ASD.