Feasibility of an empirically-based program for parents of preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The current paper reports on the feasibility of implementing an existing empirically-based program, The Incredible Years, tailored to parents of young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Parents raising preschool-age children (ages 3 to 6) with ASD (N=17) participated in a 15-week pilot trial of the intervention. Quantitative assessments of the program revealed fidelity 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, play-based child behavior skills, parent stress management, social support, and visual resources. More work is needed to further refine the program to address parent self-care, partner relationships, and the diverse behavioral and communication challenges of children across the autism spectrum. Furthermore, parent access and retention could potentially be increased by providing in-home childcare vouchers and a range of times and locations in which to offer the program. The findings suggest The Incredible Years is a feasible intervention for parents seeking additional support for child- and family-related challenges, and offers guidance to those communities currently using The Incredible Years or other related parenting programs with families of children with ASD.

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Dababnah S, Parish SL. (2016). Feasibility of an empirically based program for parents of preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder. Autism20(1), 85-95. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361314568900