The Effectiveness of an Evidence-Based Parent Training Intervention in a Community Service Setting
University of California, San Diego
Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellowship
As the prevalence of ASD increases, so has the number of families of children with ASD utilizing community-based services. While several treatment methods, many of which include parent training, have demonstrated efficacy in controlled research settings, little is known about the implementation and impact of these methods in community service settings. To address this need, this mixed-methods study will examine the effectiveness of an evidence-based parent training intervention, Project ImPACT, delivered in a community-based setting. This study has four aims that start with examination of the impact of Project ImPACT, a 12-week intervention incorporating naturalistic-behavioral and developmental teaching strategies, on child (adaptive functioning, communication) and parent (stress, depression) functioning at post-intervention and a 12-week follow-up. The second aim is to examine parent acquisition of intervention strategies at post-intervention and follow-up. The third aim is to examine the relation between parent psychosocial factors (stress and depression) and child outcomes. Finally, the fourth aim will utilize semi-structured interviews with parents, intervention providers, and program administrators to understand the perspectives of participants regarding perceived utility and effectiveness of the intervention. Study participants will include two treatment providers, 60 children with ASD and their parents, and two program administrators. Examining the effectiveness of evidence-based practices for ASD in community settings and understanding how to better adapt them to these settings warrants attention due to the increasing families utilizing community services, and the limited research available. This study has strong ecological validity and potential to improve services for children with ASD and their families.