In this week’s round-up, we summarize studies on: the perception and use of evidence-based autism interventions among providers, the long-term impact of parental language input to children with hearing loss, and the efficacy of two different parent-training programs for preschoolers with ASD.
Brief Report: Perceived Evidence and Use of Autism Intervention Strategies in Early Intervention Providers
It’s important that early intervention (EI) providers understand and use evidence based practices to ensure they’re providing effective services. The authors surveyed Australian EI providers about their knowledge and use of six interventions for children with autism. They found that the providers rated the evidence-based interventions as having more empirical support than the non-evidence based interventions. They also reported using the evidence-based practices more frequently; however, some providers reported planning to use non-evidence based practices in the future. This study suggests that EI providers may have accurate perceptions of which interventions are supported by empirical evidence. Further research should include a larger number of interventions and investigate the extent to which providers factor this knowledge into clinical decision making.
Parental Language Input to Children With Hearing Loss: Does It Matter in the End?
Research has shown that the quality of parent language impacts the language skills of young children with hearing loss, but less is known about the long-term impact. This study compared children with normal hearing, children who used hearing aids (HAs), and children who used cochlear implants (CIs) at 4 and 10 years old. They found that parent’s use of open ended questions and responsive language (e.g., language in response to child communication) was associated with higher language comprehension for children with HA at 4 years, and that the parent’s use of verbal explanations at 4 years was associated with higher comprehension and speech intelligibility at 10 years old. Additionally, they found that parent’s use of responsive language was associated with higher comprehension, vocabulary, and spoken language complexity for children with CIs at 4 and 10 years old. These results suggests that early language interactions between parents and children with hearing loss may have a long-term impact on later child language outcomes.
Efficacy of parent-training programs for preschool children with autism spectrum disorder: A randomized controlled trial
The developmental individual-difference relationship-based (DIR) model is a commonly used autism intervention model in which providers are taught to meet each child at their developmental level to build relationships and social skills through child-initiated activities. This study explored the effectiveness of the DIR model in a parent-mediated intervention, when compared to a parent-mediated intervention focusing on typical developmental milestones and parent-led activities. After training, parents were encouraged to use the intervention at least 15 hours a week with their preschooler. They found that children in the DIR group demonstrated significantly more improvement in their emotional functioning and adaptive behaviors than children in the control group. Although the sample size was small (24 parent-child dyads), this study suggests that parent-mediated DIR interventions for children with autism may be effective and feasible.