Comprehensive Parent-Mediated Intervention for Children with Autism in Southern Taiwan
Johns Hopkins University
Global Autism Public Health
Research evidence shows that timely access to early intervention is associated with positive cognitive, adaptive behavior, and language outcomes for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Pingtung is the most southern county of Taiwan and is one of the lowest SES regions in the country. No health care or education programs are available to provide diagnoses, treatment, or intervention for children with ASD or other behavior problems in Pingtung as there are no clinicians who specialize specifically in developmental disabilities, including ASD, nor are there available intervention programs for families after their child is diagnosed with ASD. Thus, there is a pressing need to provide families who reside in Pingtung and have a child with ASD a feasible and low-cost intervention. Due to a lack of existing infrastructure and no available resources to deliver a clinic-based or school-based intervention for autism, in-home parent-mediated intervention and behavioral management are particularly suitable for families who have a child with autism in Pingtung. Training families is a practical option as compared to establishing ongoing programs in clinics or schools, given space limitations and the large expense of running an ongoing program at local facilities. Furthermore, clinic- or school-based interventions would be unrealistic given the size of the county – a large number of programs would have to be established throughout a large area so families in need who do not have the resources to travel long distances could benefit from the program. This project will continue the collaborative effort between the Johns Hopkins University, Kaohsiung Medical University and the Calo Hospital from the team’s Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Taiwan (funded by Autism Speaks). The overall objective is to develop, implement, and evaluate a comprehensive and culturally sensitive ASD intervention that will be carried out by parents at home for their child diagnosed with autism. By having parents act as the therapist who implements the intervention, barriers to access will be overcome in this underserved population. If successful, this program could become a model for populations in other regions of Taiwan, or other Asian countries that share a similar cultural background, on how to efficiently and effectively provide an evidence-based behavioral intervention that will improve the health and well-being of children and their families who are affected by ASD.