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A Web-Based Tutorial for Parents of Young Children with Autism: Results from a Pilot Study

Kenneth A. Kobak, Wendy L. Stone, Elizabeth Wallace, Zachary Warren, Amy Swanson, and Kraig Robson. Telemedicine and e-Health. December 2011, 17(10): 804-808. doi:10.1089/tmj.2011.0060.
Kobak et al. 2011, evaluated web-based parent training tutorial and found a significant increase in parent knowledge, primarily based on parental self reports.

Early intervention can significantly improve long-term outcomes for children with autism. Unfortunately, many children do not receive early intervention services due to a critical shortage of trained professionals in this area. To bridge this gap, we evaluated a Web-based parent training tutorial (Enhancing Interactions), based on evidence-based practices and utilizing the Web-based platform to maximize learning. Methods: Twenty-three parents with a child between 18 months and 6 years with an autism spectrum disorder participated. Pre- and posttest scores of parents' knowledge were used to evaluate tutorial effectiveness. The system usability scale (SUS) evaluated technical user-friendliness and the user satisfaction questionnaire (USQ), gauged satisfaction with content. Results: The mean number of correct items on the posttest significantly increased, from 12.6 to 20.4, p<0.001. The mean SUS score was 85 (standard deviation=17), corresponding to a score of ?excellent.? All participants found the tutorial user friendly, well integrated, and 96% (all but one participant) thought it was easy to use, felt confident using the technical features, and would use a tutorial like this again. On the USQ, all participants found that the tutorial was well organized, clearly presented, and easy to understand; that it increased their knowledge about communicating with their child; and that they felt capable of applying these techniques with their child. Conclusions: The tutorial appears effective in increasing parents' knowledge with high user satisfaction.