Treating Autism Symptoms in Infancy through Parent-Mediated Intervention

Saturday, May 13, 2017: 12:00 PM-1:40 PM
Golden Gate Ballroom (Marriott Marquis Hotel)
A. Tanner, Education, Queen's University Belfast, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Background:  Recent research suggests autism symptoms can emerge as early as 6 months of age and are reliably detected as early as 12 months of age. Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention is the most established intervention for preschool aged children with autism, however best practices for intervention to treat autism symptoms in infancy are still being established.

Objectives:  The present study uses behavior skills training to teach parents how to implement parent-mediated behavioral intervention strategies with their infants who are showing signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Methods:  Ten parent/infant dyads participated in the 12-week intervention, which consisted of1-hour weekly parent-coaching sessions, focusing on using daily routines such as mealtimes and play, to teach imitation, joint-attention and verbal behavior to their infants who ranged in age from 7-18 months. Five-minute videos were recorded at the start of every session and scored using partial interval recording for the presence of target behaviors. Three parent and three infant target behaviors were targeting throughout the twelve sessions

Results:  Results will be discussed in terms of acquisition of target behaviors,  reductions in autism symptoms using a low-intensity parent-mediated behavioral treatment model and the social validity of the intervention. All infant participants showed a significant decrease in autism symptoms after 12-weeks of parent-mediated intervention. Symptom reduction and acquisition of target behaviors maintained at 1 and 3 month follow-ups. 

Conclusions:  Behavior Skills Training was effective at teaching parent-mediated intervention to reduce autism symptoms in infants and young toddlers who were showing signs of autism.