Recipe for a rainbow: a training programme for parents of children with challenging behaviours associated with autism spectrum disorder
McLeary-Hooper, R. P. (2003). Recipe for a rainbow: a training programme for parents of children with challenging behaviours associated with autism spectrum disorder (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13857
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13857
Parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have to manage a number of challenging behaviours with limited access to resources or knowledgeable professionals. A nine-week parent-training programme developed and tested in this study shows that parents can effectively and independently manage the challenging behaviours associated with ASD. Ten parent-child dyads consisting of a mother and her child with ASD took part in this study. Parents identified three target behaviours in each of the three areas associated with ASD - the ‘triad of impairment’ - socialisation, communication and restricted interest/cognition. Positive behaviour change was produced in 29 of the 30 target behaviours over all ‘triad’ areas. Average adaptive behaviour gains of 13.5 months per child were produced over the nine-week course of instruction. Behaviour gains were maintained and improved over short (7 week) and long-term (7 months) follow-up periods. Parent-participants evidenced generalisation of trained skills over behaviours, individuals and time. The programme comprised of two components; a) a robust and validated behaviour change approach - Applied Behavioural Analysis and b) a new approach based on Theory of Mind - social understanding. While parent-child dyads were randomly assigned to two groups, each receiving the two components in different order, parents in one group were significantly more stressed. Comparative analyses showed that both components produced effective behaviour change and that neither technique was more significant than the other. However, the social understanding approach appeared to produce larger behaviour change effects in shorter periods of time and was sufficiently powerful to produce child-behaviour change in the group of parents who had major ‘stress’ and ‘poor mood’. Parents reported that the social understanding approach was simple to implement and voiced a preference for this approach over the applied behavioural analysis approach. During the course of the programme, parent belief in their own ability to control child behaviour increased and stressors associated with child characteristics and the condition of ASD decreased. Parents reported satisfaction with the programme content, length and format and reported that the programme produced socially valid behaviour changes.
The University of Waikato
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