Article Abstract

Skill Training for Parents with ASD Children in China

Authors: Ying Zhang, Qiong Xu, Ping Lu, Xiu Xu

Abstract

Background: Parental involvement is key to both short-term and long-term prognosis of autistic children. However, currently in China, parents have limited access to professional knowledge and training of early intervention.
Methods: We designed an eight-session parental training course (skill training for parents with ASD Children, STPAC) with the aim to help parents with young ASD children to master the basic intervention skills. The theory and strategies are derived from Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) and WHO Caregiver Skills Training (CST) program. The course was composed of eight sessions. There was one session each week which lasted three hours. Furthermore, there were three sections for each session: (I) delivery of theoretical intervention knowledge by one trainer; (II) video-based analysis and rating of parent-child interaction interventions by one trainer; (III) trainer demonstration of the key skill and parent practice of the skill. To assess parents’ knowledge about the autism intervention, we designed a questionnaire called Knowledge of Autism Intervention Questionnaire (KAIQ). Besides the questionnaire, we designed a Parent Skill Rating Form (PSRF) as well, which was based on the ESDM and CST Fidelity Rating System, to evaluate the parent mastery of intervention skills and the quality of parent-child interaction interventions. At the beginning of the study, parents were asked to fill in the KAIQ and were evaluated for the fidelity score on PSRF by the trainer with the onset of enrollment, and at the end of the training, the KAIQ and PSRF scores were assessed again. Paired t tests were applied to compare the outcomes with baseline scores.
Results: A total of 55 families (seven groups) with ASD children were recruited. After eight weeks of training, the average correct answer rate of parent’s KAIQ was increased from 54.5% to 81.8% (P value <0.0001). The average fidelity score of parent-child interaction intervention from PSRF was increased from 2.4 to 3.5 (P value <0.0001).
Conclusions: This skill training course is helpful for parents with young ASD children. Next steps involve setting up a pilot randomized controlled trial to test the effects on parent skills in a more rigorous manner and to examine effects on children whose parents are receiving the training.