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 MODULE: Parent-Implemented Intervention

What Is Parent-Implemented Intervention?

In parent-implemented intervention, parents use intervention practices with their child to teach positive skills and/or reduce interfering behaviors in the home or community. Parents collaborate with team members to develop goals and a corresponding intervention plan. Parents learn how to implement the intervention through a structured training program.

A number of outcomes can result from parent-implemented intervention. While the focus will probably be on improving learner outcomes, a broader orientation can include the family. With parent-implemented intervention, additional goals may be created for the parents and/or other family members. Such goals may improve the quality of family relationships and interactions and increase adaptive family functioning.
For the learner with ASD, parent-implemented intervention can be used to increase communication skills and reduce problem behavior. In the area of communication, parent-implemented intervention has been used to increase social communication skills, initiations, conversation skills, spontaneous language, use of augmentative and alternative communication, joint attention, language during play, and functional communication. In the area of behavior, parent-implemented intervention has been used to reduce aggression and disruptive behaviors.

Parent-implemented intervention is a system that consists of six essential steps: 1) determine the needs of the family, 2) outline goals, 3) develop the intervention plan, 4) train parents, 5) implement the intervention, and 6) monitor progress. Each step contains specific practices and procedures designed to successfully guide parents and team members.

Parent-implemented intervention is an ongoing and dynamic process. Goals and intervention practices will require revision over time to fit the evolving needs of the learner, parents, and family. Once parents have completed the steps of the process and have successfully implemented intervention practices with their child, other behaviors can be targeted and interventions taught. In subsequent applications, the parent-implemented intervention process may be modified incorporating only those steps that are needed.


Parent-implemented intervention meets evidence-based practice criteria for learners with ASD in preschool and elementary school. It has been shown to be effective for learners as young as 2 and as old as 9 years of age.

Parent-implemented intervention can be used in the home or community to teach a number of skills and to reduce interfering behaviors. Once parents learn the practices and procedures for implementing intervention, any skill in any domain can conceivably be targeted. Hence, once parents learn to effectively implement intervention with their child with ASD, they can continue to use this practice throughout their child’s development.

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