In this week’s blog, we summarize research about: daily living skills in preschoolers with autism, caregivers’ perceptions of family-centered practices in early intervention, and a therapist and parent-implemented phonological intervention.
Examining Trajectories of Daily Living Skills over the Preschool Years for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Children with autism often have difficulties with daily living skills (e.g., dressing, eating, personal hygiene). The researchers examined the early trajectory of these skills in Canadian toddlers recently diagnosed with autism (age 2-4). They found the children showed an increase in daily living skills over time including one year after their diagnosis and the end of their first year of school. The researchers also found that being diagnosed younger and having less stereotyped behavior were associated with more daily living skills at age 6. These results suggest that children with autism may be making progress in their daily living skills as they transition into school. It also suggests that early identification of autism may support more daily living skills when children are of school age, perhaps as a result of early intervention.
Family Centered Care (FCC) in Early Intervention (EI): Examining Caregiver Perceptions of FCC and EI Service Use Intensity
One of the core principles guiding the early intervention program is that services are in line with the needs of each individual family. In this study, the researchers compared perspectives about several aspects of family-centered care between parents and providers. Parents and providers both gave high ratings on measures of supportive and coordinated care, meaning that both groups reported high investment in using a family-centered approach. However, parent reports of receiving child-specific information were inversely related to provider reports of giving general information relevant to the whole family. This suggests that providers may improve the quality of their family-centered practice by presenting more general information, such as information about support groups, counseling, and financial services, to improve family outcomes.
Evaluation of Parent- and Speech-Language Pathologist–Delivered Multiple Oppositions Intervention for Children With Phonological Impairment: A Multiple-Baseline Design Study
Many speech and language interventions require a high intensity which can cause feasibility difficulties for therapists. The researchers trained five parents to implement an intervention for phonological disorders with their children (3-6 years), allowing weekly treatment intensity to include one clinic-based session and two parent-implemented, home-based sessions. They found that the parents’ adherence to the intervention protocol ranged from 76-96% over the eight week intervention, with some parents’ adherence increasing over time and some decreasing. Additionally, four of the five children had a significant change in their speech skills. Although this was a very small sample, these findings suggest that training parents to implement interventions may help increase treatment intensity and improve child outcomes.