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Res Dev Disabil. 2012 Mar-Apr;33(2):688-703. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2011.11.008. Epub 2011 Dec 19.

Parent inclusion in Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention: the influence of parental stress, parent treatment fidelity and parent-mediated generalization of behavior targets on child outcomes.

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Autism Treatment and Research Centre Una Breccia nel Muro, Via Gian Battista Soria 13, 00168 Rome, Italy.


Although early intensive behavior interventions have been efficient in producing positive behavior outcome in young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, there is a considerable variety in the children's progress. Research has suggested that parental and treatment factors are likely to affect children's response to treatment. The purpose of the current study was to examine the interrelating factors that impact children's progress, highlighting the influence of parent inclusion in treatment provision captured by parental stress, how faithfully the parents followed the treatment protocols and the intensity of treatment provided at home. Twenty-four children received cross-setting staff- and parent-mediated EIBI, including continuous parent training and supervision. A comparison group of 20 children received eclectic intervention. Standardized tests were carried out by independent examiners at intake and after six months. The intervention group outperformed the eclectic group in measures of autism severity, developmental and language skills. Parent training and constant parent-mediated treatment provision led to reduced challenging behaviors from the children, increased treatment fidelity and child direct behavior change as measured by performance in correct responding on behavior targets. Variables of treatment progress and potential predictors of child outcome were analyzed in detail and mapped with regard to their relationships drawn from multiple regression analysis. Particularly, the study highlights an association between parental stress and staff treatment fidelity that interferes with decision making in treatment planning and consequently with positive behavior outcome. Such results provide important scientific and clinical information on parental and treatment factors likely to affect a child's response to treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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