A Behavioral Parent Training Model for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Preliminary Outcomes

Friday, May 16, 2014
Atrium Ballroom (Marriott Marquis Atlanta)
A. A. Fulton, C. Delfs, A. Baker, H. Robinson and C. Furlow, Marcus Autism Center, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Background:  Intensive behavioral interventions are often effective at reducing maladaptive behavior. However, they can often be costly and procedural fidelity following training sessions can be lacking (Jacobson, Mulick, & Green, 1998). A potential alternative is behavioral parent training (BPT) with a focus on teaching general behavior management strategies based on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA). These programs are relatively inexpensive, shorter in duration than other intensive interventions, and place emphasis on the importance of caregiver involvement, training, and education (Serketich & Dumas, 1996). 

Objectives:  The purpose of the current investigation was to examine the effects of a BPT program on problem behavior in children with autism. 

Methods:  Participants for this study included 31 families consisting of at least one caregiver with a child 2-9 yrs old diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder completing a BPT program. Sessions were conducted in the community setting (i.e., caregiver’s home). Each family participated in a 2-hour session, once a week, for a minimum of 9 weeks of a 12-week admission. The problem behavior portion of the Scales of Independent Behavior-Revised (SIB-R) was administered by parenting counselors during the initial intake session and final session to measure problem behavior. The SIB-R ratings provided by caregivers reflected the frequency and severity of the following problem behaviors: hurtful to self, hurtful to others, destructive to property, disruptive behavior, unusual or repetitive behavior, socially offensive behavior, withdrawal or inattentive behavior, and uncooperative behavior. Raw scores from parent ratings were used to calculate the following indices: internalized maladaptive index (hurtful to self, unusual/repetitive habits, withdrawal/inattentive behaviors), asocial maladaptive index (socially offensive behaviors, uncooperative behaviors), and externalized maladaptive index (hurtful to others, destructive to property, disruptive behavior). 

Results:  Generally, mean SIB-R index scores improved from pre-admission to post-admission. Data were analyzed using within-subjects repeated measures ANOVA to determine if SIB-R scores were statistically significant across all indices.

Conclusions:  The results suggest general education and targeted behavioral parenting skills taught throughout the BPT are associated with decreased frequency and severity of problem behaviors. However, these findings are tentative as they are based solely on parent report and responses scored on the SIB-R.

See more of: Services
See more of: Services