McAleese, M., & Nesbitt, A. (2018). The Incredible Years® Autism Spectrum and Language Delays (IY-ASLD) Programme for Parents delivered for Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT). Northern Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland.
This report presents the results and assesses the effectiveness of the Incredible Years Autism and Language Delay Programme for parents/caregivers of children with Autism living in the NHSCT area. The programme was extremely well received, retaining eight of the nine parents recruited, securing high level outcomes for the families. A mixed methods research design was utilised to capture a rich picture of the participants’ experiences. Findings from quantitative measures revealed overwhelmingly positive results; the programme demonstrated statistically significant improvements (with large effect sizes) across a number of parental ratings of the frequency of behaviours characteristic of Autism and the impact of these on the child’s everyday functioning. Statistically significant decreases in parental stress levels (with a large effect size) occurred demonstrating how the programme can help lower caregivers’ stress levels, improving their mental health and well-being. In addition, comparison of pre and post programme ratings of how problematic children’s behavioural difficulties are at home showed statistically significant levels of change (with a medium effect size). Analysis of weekly session evaluations showed exceptionally positive ratings on all aspects of programme content. Qualitative information from the focus group interview presented a convincingly positive response regarding: how tailored the programme was for individual children; the new learning it entailed; how well the programme was delivered; the support it provided; and the impact it had on the participants’ own parenting skills. Both facilitators loved this treatment programme for parents of children with Autism, reporting an extremely beneficial learning experience for all involved. Some recommendations are made for the effective delivery of such a high quality programme in the future.