Study of Effects of Parent Training on Parental Activation in Conflict-Affected Communities in Palestine

Saturday, May 14, 2016: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Hall A (Baltimore Convention Center)
M. Diamond1, L. Keenan2 and M. Habash3, (1)A Global Voice for Autism, Minneapolis, MN, (2)A Global Voice for Autism, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, (3)A Global Voice for Autism, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Background: In spite of frequent autism diagnoses, few services exist to support children with autism and their families in the West Bank, Palestine. Due to the lack of evidence-based programs to support children with autism, many families rely on professionals with little training that use methods with no evidence-based backing and see few results. These parents develop feelings of hopelessness and believe that nothing will help their children with autism acquire skills. This study investigates the impact of parent training on parental activation in the support of their children with autism in Ramallah, Palestine.

Objectives:  To assess changes in parental activation in Palestinian mothers after participation in a 12-week parent training program about evidence-based practices.

Methods:  A total of eight families (n=8) of children who have been diagnoses with autism spectrum disorders in Ramallah, Palestine participated in this study. The primary caregiving parent completed Insignia Health’s Patient Activation Measure as well as an assessment of parental confidence as related to their child’s care in Arabic prior to participating in a 12-week parent-training program. Caregivers and their children with autism then participated in a 12-week parent-training program that included both didactic and theoretical training components. At the end of the program, primary caregivers completed the Patient Activation Measure and parental confidence measure again and changes in activation levels were calculated.

Results:  Results suggested that parent training resulted in increased parental confidence in supporting their child’s needs as well increased parental activation and ownership over the care of their child with autism. In the six months following the program, we found that parents with higher activation levels at the end of the program had a greater retention rate in the program’s follow-up components while there was attrition from caregivers with lower activation scores.

Conclusions:  Parent training can increase parental activation by showing parents in conflict-affected communities that they can take ownership of their child with autism’s care. Furthermore, parents with higher activation levels are more likely to follow through with support programs for their children with autism and to prioritize their child’s needs.