An example of such a situation might be teaching children how to brush their teeth. As children with autism often have texture sensitivities, they may resist brushing. So, instead of asking them to brush their teeth, parents could walk them through the process step by step so they get a chance to learn better. They could start by asking their child it's time to brush, what should we do now?
Zand says children with autism can be isolated because of their behavior and frequent meltdowns in public places like grocery stores, restaurants and malls. She believes by applying these evidence-based strategies, parents will be able to reduce the particular concerning behaviors, and help their children function like others, so they don't feel left out.
During the course of four weeks, participating parents will track and monitor their child's success and work with the practitioner in the program to apply what they are learning to other behavioral situations.
Zand believes a program like this needs to be part of a pediatric service, where parents can just knock on the door and get the help.
"The main focus of the treatment for autism has predominantly been on the child, but we don't realize what we are expecting of parents," Zand says.
Often times, pediatricians teach parents of children with autism to be therapists and help their children with issues.
"This program reinforces and encourages parents to just to be parents, and not therapists," Zand says.
Through this intervention program, Zand hopes a parent will become more resilient as their child's behavior improves.
Zand's research team includes Stephen Edward McMillin, Ph.D., assistant professor of social work and Margaret Bultas, Ph.D., assistant professor of nursing at Saint Louis University.
Results of this trial will be compared to parents of kids with autism who don't receive such intervention program
|Contact: Riya Anandwala|
Saint Louis University