Presentation Title: Parent Training and Parent Psychoeducation: Development and Essential Ingredients

Abstract: This presentation will describe the development and structure of two psychosocial interventions that were delivered over 24 weeks as part of the RUBI study: Parent Training (PT) and Parent Psychoeducation (PE). The PT program is based on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA), in which disruptive, noncompliant and explosive behaviors are believed to serve a function for the child: attention, access to a tangible item, escape from demands, or sensory stimulation. In PT, therapists help parents identify and then modify the antecedents of the behavior problem and the consequences that follow through didactic instruction, video vignettes, role-plays, in vivo coaching, and individualized homework. The PT program consists of 11 core sessions (average duration = 75 minutes), two booster sessions, two home visits, and up to two optional sessions for topical issues, such as toileting, feeding or sleep problems. The PE program provided parents with up-to-date information on the evaluation and diagnosis of ASD, relevant aspects of child development, the parental role as advocate for the child, educational planning, current evidence-based treatments and treatments without supporting evidence. While common medications and behavioral interventions were reviewed, no specific recommendations of behavior management techniques were provided. PE consisted of 12, 60-90 minute sessions and one home visit. The choice of PE as the comparator in this study was intended to control for time and attention. The number of sessions and the real-world content of the sessions provided a rigorous control condition for PT. All PT and PE sessions were delivered 1:1 to the child’s primary caregiver(s). Both treatments included manuals with detailed therapist scripts to promote treatment fidelity and handouts for parents at each session. The presentation will close with a description of recommended therapist qualifications, training and supervision procedures, including how to evaluate fidelity to treatment.

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