Children with Autism


Brookman-Frazee, L. (2004). Using parent/clinician partnerships in parent education programs for children with autism. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 6, 195-213.

This study continues research on educating parents of children with disabilities, autism in particular. The purpose of this study was to examine the impacts of parent/professional education methods and of the same techniques used by the professionals alone on the parent stress and their confidence, the child affect, and child responsiveness and engagement. Parent education included collaboration between parents and professionals where the parents are the experts of their children and the professionals are the parents’ teachers of specific methods in managing behavior. Thus, this model is family-centered and addresses the needs of the family to learn appropriate skills and to improve the quality of life. Professionals directly working with the children focus on behavior modification methods and develop the parents’ dependence on the professionals’ skills. Three boys with autism and their mothers as primary caregivers were involved in this research.

Parent training was conducted at the children’s homes; however, training for one of the boys’ family was implemented in the clinic playrooms as well as at home. Professionals use Pivotal Response Training in teaching parents strategies to increase their children’s motivation to communicate verbally and to use appropriate social interactions. The professional provided feedback as the parents were implementing the strategies included in the training manual.

In a clinician-directed model, the professional used intervention procedures without involving parents in any of the activities.

Results concerning parent stress of this study indicated low parent stress using the parent/professional collaborative model compared to clinician-directed method. Parent confidence showed an increase in the parent training program. Children increased interest and happiness levels and showed significant increase in their engagement and responsiveness in interaction with their parents. Therefore, the study suggests that the collaborative approach to problem-solving may help parents of children with disabilities release stress and gain confidence in their abilities in managing their children’s behavior.