Using an internet-based program to teach a naturalistic intervention to parents of children with ASD
Michigan State University
Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellowship
There is an increasing need for the adaptation of evidence-based interventions to non-traditional service delivery methods for families of children with autism. Internet-based instructional formats have been shown to be an effective means of dissemination of intervention for various clinical populations. To date, however, no research has examined the potential of innovative internet technology to provide standardized training with additional remote coaching to parents of children with autism. The use of a remote, internet-delivered, parent training program has the potential to surmount many of the challenges typically associated with accessing and implementing such programs. Consequently, an internet-delivered, distance learning program was created to introduce parents to Reciprocal Imitation Training, a naturalistic behavioral intervention that has been shown to increase imitation on objects and gestures in young children with autism. This study will assess the degree to which parents can learn and effectively implement an evidence-based intervention, Reciprocal Imitation Training (RIT), after engaging in an internet-based training program. Additional goals of this study are to: (1) evaluate the necessity of feedback and coaching for parents? achievement of fidelity of implementation, (2) assess the impact of parent participation on child behavior, specifically child engagement and child imitation skills, and (3) assess the acceptability of this training approach to parents. The development and evaluation of such a program is critical to furthering efforts aimed at increasing access to evidence-based intervention for children with autism and their families.