Caregiver strain and burden are high in families raising children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Parents of preschool children with ASD are particularly vulnerable to stress and depression. High parent stress is associated with several negative outcomes, including child social difficulties, strained parent-child attachment, and marital unhappiness. Yet, few interventions address the direct needs of this growing population of children and their families.
The current study evaluated the outcomes of an existing evidence-based parenting program, The Incredible Years, tailored to caregivers of young children with ASD (IY-ASD). With a basis in child-directed play, the 12-14 week group program focuses on improving child-parent communication, problem solving, stress management, and school readiness, as well as to reduce challenging child behaviors and poor family dynamics.