Parent Child Interaction Therapy for Families of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Allison Patrick, Jon Campbell, Dr. Sarah Vess, Stout School of Education, High Point University, 1 University Parkway, High Point, NC 27268

Approximately 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) each year. Children with ASD exhibit impairments in communication, social interaction, and ritualistic and/or repetitive behaviors. Associated behavioral symptomatology can be a significant stressor for families of children with ASD. With this in mind, there is a growing body of research which suggests interventions should target family stressors, rather than only the impairments characteristic of ASD. While Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has the most empirical support as an intervention for ASD, there is growing support for the use of Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), a relationship-based, naturalistic intervention. The purpose of this study is to test the efficacy of PCIT, without modifications, with families of preschool-age children with ASD without comorbid behavioral difficulties. This study addresses the following questions: What effect will PCIT have on parental competence? What impact will PCIT have on the parent-child relationship? Will PCIT affect child functioning? The study utilized a multiple baseline research design with four families of children with ASD. Each family participated in both phases of PCIT, and the mothers completed pre- and post-treatment questionnaires regarding parenting practices, the parent-child relationship, and attitude toward therapy. The results indicate support for the use of PCIT with preschool children with ASD without comorbid externalizing behavior disorders. Mothers demonstrated more positive and effective parenting behavior while also enhancing the parent-child relationship. The children were more compliant to parental commands and had improved social and behavioral functioning. This study contributes to the growing body of literature that documents the benefit of PCIT for children with ASD by validating that PCIT without modifications can be effective for this population.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Allison Patrick

Institution: High Point University

Type: Poster

Subject: Education

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 5
Date/Time: Tue 12:30pm-1:30pm
Session Number: 4173