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MODULE: Parent-Implemented Intervention  

Overview of  Parent-Implemented Intervention

Learners with ASD require intensive intervention to develop skills in core areas of development such as communication, social interaction, joint attention, as well as a wide range of other pro-social skills (Koegel, Bimbela, & Schreibman, 1996). They often present with behaviors that cause disruption to ongoing family practices and routines. While parents describe many benefits of living with and raising a child with ASD, parents of children with ASD report greater amounts of stress and depression than do parents of children who are typically developing or who have other developmental disorders (Hastings & Johnson, 2001; Lee, Harrington, & Louie, 2008). Parents of children with ASD often help their children with ASD acquire skills while simultaneously coping with a range of stressors (Gray, 2002).

Given the complexity of ASD and the challenges parents face, it is often beneficial and even necessary for them to implement intervention strategies in the home or community. Direct parent involvement has become widely accepted as part of a total autism intervention program (Iovannone, Dunlap, Huber, & Kincaid, 2003; Levy, Kim, & Olive, 2006; National Research Council, 2001). Research has demonstrated that when parents serve as active participants in their child’s treatment, positive results are obtained (e.g. Aldred, Green, & Adams, 2004; McConachie, Randle, Hammal, & Le Couteur, 2005; Symon, 2005). Parent-implemented intervention: 1) facilitates earlier initiation of intervention, 2) provides continual opportunities for learning in a range of situations, 3) aids in generalization of skills, and 4) promotes consistent management of behaviors. Additionally, positive effects can extend beyond learner behaviors and impact parents and families through increased parent confidence, reduced stress, and improved family functioning (Aldred, Green, & Adams, 2004; Koegel, Bimbela, & Schreibman, 1996; Koegel, Symon, & Koegel, 2002).

With parent-implemented intervention, parents are taught to use individualized intervention practices with their child to help them acquire/increase skills and/or decrease interfering behaviors associated with ASD. Goals are individualized to address the specific needs of the learner and the concerns and strengths of families.

Implementing parent-implemented intervention involves a multi-step process that includes determining the needs of the family, outlining goals, developing an intervention plan, and training parents to implement the intervention. Parent-implemented intervention includes collaboration between family members and team members to carry out all components of the process.

This module will define each step of the process for parent-implemented intervention, discuss specific procedures and practices within each step, and provide examples that can be used as models for parents and team members as they work with individuals with ASD.

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