Draft book chapter
A new Incredible Years (IY) Parent Program for preschool children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Language Delays (ages 2-5) was recently developed and piloted. It is designed to either complement the 18-20 week Basic IY Preschool Program for parent groups where children have a mix of behavioral and developmental challenges, or to be used independently in a 13-14 week course for groups of parents with children with ASD. This chapter includes a summary of the rationale for program content that promotes social communication and language development, positive relationships and social skills, emotion- and self-regulation, and positive behavior management. The IY group-based collaborative approaches for training parents are also presented. These approaches include mediating vignettes of children with ASD to trigger parent self-reflection; problem-solving and experiential practices with child-directed play and imitation; communicating with children with and without language skills; practicing parenting skills such as social and emotion coaching, gesturing, modeling, and prompting; incorporating social sensory routines; engaging in pretend play and using puppets to enhance joint play, social communication, and empathy; and learning the ABCs for managing behavior, including the concepts of antecedent accommodations and environmental modification to promote appropriate behavior, teaching replacement behaviors, and reinforcing target behaviors by providing praise, incentives, and sensory activities as rewarding consequences. Parents learn to identify behaviors that can be ignored and how to use differential attention and gain their child’s attention. The importance of parent goal setting, self-monitoring, home activities, stress management, and building parent support networks is emphasized.