Autism and Families

Moes, D. R., & Frea, W. D. (2002). Contextualized behavioral support in early intervention for children with autism and their families. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 32, 519–533.

This particular study manifests that parents are valuable assets in teaching behavior to children who have autism. By educating families in using functional assessment and appropriate behavioral intervention methods in particular, functional communication training may decrease behavior problems of children with autism. Three families of children with autism ages 3 years old were chosen for the present study. These families were referred by clinic of autistic spectrum disorders. All three families had similar targeted behavior problems. Sue was engaged in hitting, pinching and pushing. Jack’s targeted behavior problem was hitting and pushing and Tim was mostly involved in crying, whining, grabbing, pushing objects, and banging on furniture. Training parents was implemented in the families’ homes and in the context of routines in which behavior problems often occurred. Professionals, the authors of this article, visited parents one time a week during certain routines identified by parents as the most challenging due to their child’s behavior. These routines included daily afternoon play and walk for Sue, afternoon play and clean up for Jack, and dinner and shopping for Tim. In the beginning visit with the parents, the professionals explained to parents that they were going to apply functional communication techniques to teach different appropriate responses. The function of the behavior identified for three children was gaining the access to the preferred items and activities. Data were collected during the routines as the teaching was observed and videotaped. There were two behavior problems identified described as aggression and disruption. Results of this study indicated that assessing and providing intervention to children during their family context decreases the problem behavior.