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.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #15
Targeting Common Sources of Stress Among Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: From Stressor Identification to Intervention Implementation.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
1:00 PM–2:20 PM
North 124 B
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Emily Huber Callahan (Binghamton University)
Discussant: Emily Huber Callahan (Binghamton University)
Abstract: In the Clinical Practice Guideline, Report of the Recommendations for Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders sponsored by the New York State Department of Health Early Intervention Program (1999), parent training is recommended as an important component of comprehensive interventions for children with these disorders. Among the numerous potential benefits of parent training, the recommendation notes that it may be useful in decreasing parental stress. Service providers who work with families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) recognize that a family’s ability to access and maintain resources and support can be a moderator of treatment’s effectiveness. Parental stress, in turn, can impact a family’s ability to access these needed resources. Stress management, therefore, becomes an important component of service provision when working with these families. The goal of this symposium is to present three common sources of parental stress that arise frequently for parents of children with ASD, specifically, feeding problems, safety concerns, and advocacy issues. Discussion will focus on the bidirectional relations of these interventions with overall stress levels and effective methods for teaching parents how to identify, target, and manage stressors in these areas.
The Mealtime Battle Between Parent and Child with ASD.
COURTNEY A POOLER (Binghamton University), Raymond G. Romanczyk (Institute for Child Development)
Abstract: Parents of children with ASD are more likely to report feeding problems and less likely to describe their children as healthy eaters (Lockner, Crowe, & Skipper, 2008). Feeding difficulties, while somewhat common among children who are typically developing, affect up to 80% of children with a developmental disability (Manikam & Perman, 2000). Many of the feeding difficulties identified in children with ASD can be described as behavioral feeding disorders, or sensory-based feeding disorders (Schwarz, 2003). This presentation will identify major feeding concerns of parents of children with ASD. Additionally, common pitfalls of concerned parents desperate to get their child to eat something (rather than nothing) will be discussed. This presentation will highlight methods of helping parents identify their own behavior patterns that may be contributing to or maintaining a child’s maladaptive feeding behavior, as well as useful treatment methods that may be implemented in the home environment. Although parent stress is often not the impetus for treating feeding disorders in a child with ASD, it is hypothesized that by improving feeding behavior, families will experience more ease in meal preparation and increase in utilization of restaurants and other recreational activities, and therefore, a decrease in some of the daily stressors on parents.
When Childproof No Longer Applies: Child Safety and ASD
RACHEL N STRAUB (Institute for Child Development, Binghamton University-SUNY), Raymond G. Romanczyk (Institute for Child Development)
Abstract: Children with mental or developmental disabilities are more likely to experience nonfatal injury, with greater severity, than non-disabled peers (Xiang, et al., 2005). Further, research has shown that children with impairments in attention, communication, and social interaction, have elevated levels of injury risk (Sherrard, Tonge, & Ozanne-Smith, 2002). For parents of children with ASD, this implies that greater vigilance is needed in order to maintain safety and reduce injury risk both at home and in the community. This presentation will highlight primary safety concerns expressed by parents of children with ASD. Discussion will include approaches to helping parents identify potential hazards and implement preventive methods using both environmental manipulations and applied behavior analysis with their children to reduce their own stress and concern. Additionally, common problems parents may encounter when implementing home safety behavioral programs will be presented, specifically regarding the use and effectiveness of home safety rules. Finally, the bidirectional relations of injury risk and safety program implementation being both the cause and relief of parent stress will be reviewed.
Advocate, Arbiter, Service Provider, or Caregiver? The Silent Struggle of Parenting a Child with ASD
JULIA BARNES (Binghamton University), Raymond G. Romanczyk (Institute for Child Development)
Abstract: Inherent in parenting a child with ASD is the adoption of multiple new roles. In addition to the role of nurturing caregiver, these parents often find themselves in the unanticipated position of being the arbiters of decisions regarding their child’s treatment. The Committee on Educational Interventions for Children with Autism, National Research Council (2001) proposed that parents of children with ASD need to be educated in specialized skills and knowledge of scientifically based information about the disorder and its treatment in order to be effective advocates of their child’s education. In their attempts to realize recommendations like this, however, some parents may feel as though they are being pressured to become experts in best practice, service delivery and the accompanying legal issues. This perception can lead to heightened parental stress, perhaps even beyond that associated with the behavioral excesses and deficits of ASD The aim of this presentation will be to identify potential avenues by which parents incur stress from serving multiple roles with respect to their child’s education. In doing so, the primary objective will be to suggest methods for coping with and, where appropriate, alleviating these sources of stress.



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