Pilot Trial of The Incredible Years for Parents of Preschool Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
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  • Dababnah, Sarah
    • Affiliation: School of Social Work
Abstract
  • Parents raising young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) experience disproportionately high levels of stress and burden, which are associated with a plethora of other negative child and family outcomes. Yet, few interventions address parent mental health or related outcomes in this population. Chapter 1 describes a comprehensive review of randomized controlled trials which included parents of preschool-age children with ASD. Seven interventions met the review criteria. The studies were strengthened by the use of fidelity measures and developmentally-appropriate interventions. However, while all of the studies collected parent measures, none reported significant posttest improvements in parent mental health or other outcomes. Furthermore, numerous issues, such as unclear randomization strategies, small sample sizes, and poor external validity further limited the ability to draw significant conclusions regarding the promise of the interventions. The chapter concludes with a call to develop and rigorously test family-centered interventions aimed at improving both child and parent outcomes. Chapter 2 highlights the feasibility of implementing an existing evidence-based practice, The Incredible Years, tailored to parents of children with ASD. Two groups of parents raising preschool-age children (ages 3 to 6) with ASD (N=17) participated in a 15-week pilot trial of the intervention. The fidelity of the program was generally maintained, with the exception of program-specific videos. Qualitative data from individual post-intervention interviews reported parents benefited most from child emotion regulation strategies, parent stress management, social support, and visual resources. Chapter 3 reports on a mixed method test of the acceptability and results from the trial described in Chapter 2. Attendance was high (88% to 100% weekly) and attrition was modest (18%). Participants reported high acceptability of all aspects of the program (mean 3.3 out of 4). Parent stress decreased significantly after program completion, as compared to baseline. Parents highlighted several barriers to their success in the program, including trouble finding time to focus on their own needs and difficulty applying some program content (e.g., time-out for noncompliance) to children with sensory or self-regulation challenges. However, parents reportedly enjoyed the strengths-based, play-based approach of the program, as well as opportunities for social support and peer learning.
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  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Parish, Susan
Degree
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2014
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