Feasibility and Acceptability of Using an Online Platform to Deliver Training in Evidence-Based, Parent-Mediated Interventions for ASD

Poster Presentation
Thursday, May 2, 2019: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Room: 710 (Palais des congres de Montreal)
A. Pomales1, R. L. Gruen1, E. A. DeLucia1, L. L. Booth1 and P. E. Ventola2, (1)Yale Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, (2)Yale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT

Access to intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is limited. The high cost, frequent sessions, and distance of reputable medical centers create barriers that prevent families from gaining access to empirically validated interventions, such as Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT). PRT is a naturalistic intervention that targets social communication skills. Previous findings have shown that caregivers can readily implement PRT (Vernon, Koegel, Dauterman & Stolen, 2016). More recently, studies have aimed to explore methods of using technology to deliver behavioral interventions and training for parents of children with ASD (Lindgren et al., 2016). MindNest Health is a digital behavioral health tool that delivers parent education and training in evidence-based, parent-mediated interventions through didactic instruction and animated demonstrations of key concepts.


To examine the feasibility and acceptability of using MindNest to deliver training in PRT principles.


MindNest provides eight online training modules that include didactic information, as well as demonstrations of behavioral strategies using animated simulations. For example, the simulations illustrate how a parent can prompt their child to ask or respond to questions. Additionally, participants completed four one-hour videoconferencing sessions with a clinician. The duration of the study is ten weeks, and videoconferencing sessions are scheduled during the first, third, seventh, and tenth week. During sessions, clinicians provided direct instruction and feedback on parents’ PRT implementation.

Parents acceptance of MindNest was assessed using the Client Credibility Questionnaire (CCQ) at week 2. The CCQ is an eight-point scale that asks parents how logical the training seems, how confident they are in its success, how confident they feel in recommending it, and how confident they feel that it will improve other areas of development, such as sadness, anxiety, or school work.


To date, 15 families with children with ASD between the ages of 2-7 have enrolled in the program. All families independently completed the online enrollment process and gained access to the training platform. Six families are in the process of completing the program and 2 families withdrew from the study. Seven families successfully completed all training modules and videoconferencing sessions.

Parents rated items on the CCQ on an 8-point scale ranging from 0 (not at all logical/confident) to 8 (very logical/confident), with a total score range of 0 to 32. On average, participants rated a 7.2 on logical (N=15, SD=.941), 5.8 on confidence (N=15, SD=1.42), 6.27 on recommend (N=15, SD=1.75), 4.93 on other (N=15, SD=1.75), and a 24.20 total score (N=15, SD=5.08).


MindNest is a novel platform used to attain scalable education and training in PRT. This addresses the need for improved access to affordable evidence-based interventions, and reduces the economic burden of providing care to individuals with ASD. Successful completion of the program supports the idea that this program is a feasible option for delivering training in PRT, which will increase accessibility to service. Acceptability ratings reveal that, on average, participants find the program to be very logical. This could result from integrating parent-friendly content on behavioral principles with videoconferencing based support from a clinician.