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New clinical trial for children with autism to target parents
Date:8/25/2014

ST. LOUIS In a first of its kind clinical trial, Debra Zand, Ph.D., and her team at Saint Louis University, will run an intervention program to help parents address and manage their children's challenging behaviors immediately after being diagnosed with autism.

The pilot program, titled Primary Care Stepping Stones Positive Parenting Program or PCSS Triple P, will run at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center's Knights of Columbus Child Development Center. Researchers will recruit 76 parents of children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder over the past year. The goal of this trial is to help parents identify and manage one or two of their children's specific behavioral problems or developmental issues.

"This program represents a paradigm shift in how pediatricians provide care for children with autism and their families," says Zand, associate professor of pediatrics at Saint Louis University and the principal investigator of the trial. "Parents of children with autism often face tremendous emotional strains, changes in lifestyle and family dynamics associated with caring for their children."

While facing wait lists and delays in treatment for their children, parents themselves receive little professional support in managing their children's behaviors, Zand says.

"Little attention is paid to bolstering parental resiliencethe dynamic process of being able to parent effectively in the face of having a child with autism."

The intervention aims to work as a rapid response to the problem, which will be implemented right after a child is diagnosed. The ultimate goal would be to improve the child's behavior.

As part of the program, parents will meet a Triple P practitioner individually for four consecutive 30-minute sessions across a month. Once parents have identified problems they would like to address, they can choose from a list of 25 evidence based strategies to manage their child'
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Contact: Riya Anandwala
ranandwa@slu.edu
314-977-8018
Saint Louis University
Source:Eurekalert  

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