Interventions for Children with Autism

Symon, J. B. (2005). Expanding interventions for children with autism: Parents as trainers. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 7, 159-173.

The present study described a one-week parent education program of teaching Pivotal Response techniques to families in order to improve their children’s communication skills. The focus of this research was the extent to which the parents were able not only to teach their children appropriate skills but also to educate others in applying the same techniques in teaching children. The children’s language and social skills were assessed during the teaching session with their parents and then other caregivers. Data were collected by videotaping probes of teaching.

Three mothers of children with autism participated in this study. All children performed repetitive behaviors and had impairments in social and communication skills. Parent Education sessions were conducted for 25 hours a week, 5 hours per day.

The study produced a positive outcome. Parents were able to learn specific techniques and use them at home teaching their children communication and social skills as well as teaching other caregivers to use the same techniques. As results of the parent teacher intervention, the children’s skills were improved in interactions with their mothers as well as interactions with other caregivers that were trained by parents.