Training programmes for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder: the benefits of a Psycho-education model

Jennifer Wilson

Cite this article as: CEPiP 2014;1:163-168

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Children with autism spectrum disorder often exhibit problematic behaviour, which can place parents under great stress. A pilot study was performed to evaluate the effectiveness of an existing parent training programme. Parents were asked to set their own goals before attending the group. Selfratings of parent stress and self-efficacy were completed before and after the intervention. Parents were also asked whether the training met their goals. Both individual session evaluations and an overall evaluation of the intervention were completed by the parents to determine whether the group had met their expectations. The ratings revealed no significant differences in parenting stress following the group work. Self-efficacy, however, was found to be statistically significantly improved. The perceived ability of parents in attaining their goals was also improved. Overall, parents reported the group as being helpful in generating ideas and meeting expectations in learning about their child’s condition. They had the opportunity to consider the behaviours that were consistent with their child’s condition and adjust their style of managing them. Psychoeducation programmes for parents should be considered as an early intervention and preventative approach to reduce the need for mental health interventions. The approach encourages the parent to become the expert on their child’s difficulties.