Virtual training is effective in teaching parents of children with autism about early behavioral intervention, according to a new study.
The alternative to in-person training is the only option for many parents during the coronavirus pandemic or for those who can't attend in-person sessions for other reasons.
"Since parents play an important role in the treatment of their children's autism symptoms, developing effective, efficient, socially acceptable and accessible training so they can implement these interventions is critically important," said study co-author Wayne Fisher, director of the Center for Autism Research, Education and Services at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.
Parents are trained in early intensive behavioral intervention, which uses e-learning and play-based training to reduce problem behaviors such as aggression and to build their child's communication and social skills.
This study included 25 parents of children with autism spectrum disorder. Of those, 13 received the virtual training. Twelve others made up the control group, continuing with other behavioral programs.
Compared to the control group, parents in the virtual group showed large improvements in their ability to help their children improve their behavior.
Parents who received the virtual training rated it 6.6 on a 7-point scale, showing that it is easy to use, comprehensive and effective, according to the study authors.
"The findings show that parents can be virtually trained in these complex procedures and that the methods are ones that they find easy to use," Fisher said in a Rutgers news release.
"You want these treatments to not only work in the clinic with the trained technicians but also in a child's daily life, helping parents to manage behavior and helping the child communicate better and to do activities like go out to dinner," Fisher said.
The findings were published recently in The Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis.
The Autism Society has more on autism.
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