Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Symposium #535
CE Offered: BACB
Teaching Parents to Design, Implement, and Evaluate Behavioral Intervention for their Children with Autism
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
International South
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Debra Berry Malmberg (Claremont McKenna College)
Discussant: Lara M. Delmolino Gatley (Rutgers University)
CE Instructor: Debra Berry Malmberg, Ph.D.

Parent education programs for parents of children with autism often focus on teaching parents to remedy the social and communicative deficits of their children. Recently, researchers have begun to investigate the unique contributions that parents can make in treatment choices, such as selecting behavioral excesses and deficits that are important targets with maximal effect. In these studies, parents and clinicians worked collaboratively to develop, implement, and evaluate interventions. In the first presentation, a parent education program was designed to teach parents to address complex problem behaviors in the home. The second presentation discusses the effects of this collaborative parent education program on the family (e.g., parent stress, quality of life). In the final presentation, parents were taught to evaluate and compare the interventions that their child received. These parent education programs will be discussed in terms of the importance of developing programs that are appropriate for individual families needs and the potential to increase parent empowerment.

Evaluation of a Parent Education Program to Decrease Maladaptive Behaviors in the Home.
SABRINA D. DANESHVAR (Autism Spectrum Therapies), Debra Berry Malmberg (Claremont McKenna College), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College)
Abstract: Parent education programs have a long history in behavioral treatment of children with autism (Harris, 1982). Newer advances in parent education programming have led to the use of a collaborative approach between behaviorists and parents (e.g., Brookman-Frazee, 2002). The current study examined the use of a collaborative parent education program in targeting maladaptive behaviors of children with autism. Six parents of children with autism participated in an individualized parent education program. A multiple baseline design across participants (parent/child dyads) was used to evaluate the effectiveness of a collaborative parent education program in teaching parents to manage and reduce the rigid and ritualistic behaviors of their own children. All of the six children showed decreased rigid behaviors during the targeted activity. Additionally, five out of six parents demonstrated consistent acquisition of behavioral strategies. This study demonstrated that a short-term, individualized parent education program was effective in teaching parents behavioral strategies that were used in the home and decreased the frequency of maladaptive child behaviors.
The Contributions of the Ecological Model to a Parent Education Program.
DEBRA BERRY MALMBERG (Claremont McKenna College), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College)
Abstract: Researchers have found that behaviors in the response class of insistence on sameness have high clinical significance and likely affect family quality of life and stress (Green et al., 2007; Szatmari et al., 2006). The ecological model was used to develop the aforementioned collaborative parent education program. The study additionally investigated the effects of the ecological model on enhancing the contextual fit of the intervention and enhancing parent motivation to design and conduct intervention. This approach was also hypothesized to enhance clinical significance and enhance generalization of skills. Parents showed decreased stress levels on the Parent Stress Index after intervention. Results also found high levels of parent satisfaction with the selection of target behaviors and the intervention design. Parents also reported increased confidence in their ability to affect behavior change with their child at home. Results are discussed in terms of the value of applying the ecological model to parent education.
Evaluating Interventions for Children with Autism: Development and Assessment of a Parent Education Program.
KARI BERQUIST (Claremont Graduate University), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College)
Abstract: This study investigated the effectiveness of a parent education program used to teach parents how to evaluate their child’s interventions. This study specifically examined parents’ acquisition, generalization, and maintenance of behaviors related to the evaluation of their child’s interventions. Additionally, this study looked at parents’ knowledge and attitudes related to informal and formal evaluation of their children’s intervention in comparison to controls. A multiple baseline design across parent participants was used to assess parents’ ability to evaluate interventions. In addition, a pre- and post-test design was used to assess variables related to psychosocial and knowledge of evaluative information, comparing parent participants to a control group. In addition, data was taken on children’s target behaviors in each of their intervention settings (e.g., at an after school behavior management center or a speech therapist’s office). After completion of the parent education program, parents’ evaluative abilities increased in comparison to controls as well as relative to individual baseline measures.



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