Finding 25 hours: a single-subject study of engagement for families of children with autism

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sarah Noel Yucha (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Billy T. Ogletree

Abstract: This study examined the use of a parent training effort to increase parental engagement with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD is a neurodevelopmental condition defined by persistent deficits in communication and social interaction accompanied by restrictive and repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities (National Research Council, 2001). Without effective treatment, the social, emotional and behavioral deficits associated with ASD can limit individuals' abilities to achieve complete and rewarding community inclusion. The National Research Council recommends 25 hours per week of engagement as appropriate evidence based practice for education and intervention of children with ASD. Challenges related to treatment efforts of this intensity include finances, time, available education, and trained clinical personnel. Based on Sparapani, Morgan, Reinhardt, Schatschneider, and Wetherby’s (2015) research on active engagement, this study defined active engagement as, a time where a child is in a well-regulated state centered in a routine, so that the child and stakeholder can participate in shared communicative exchanges characterized by: initiation and response of verbal bids, and flexibility of shifts in attention and activity which can lead to spontaneous communication, production of generative language, and participation in eye gaze shifts. Many of these aspects of active engagement have been identified in research literature pertaining to core learning challenges for children diagnosed with ASD including: Emotional Regulation, Productivity, Independence, Responding, Eye Gaze, Directed Communication, Generative Language, Flexible Behavior, and Flexible Attention. This study proposed the use of parent training designed to increase parent-child engagement. The training effort, delivered via the Communication Partner Instruction model created by Kent-Walsh and McNaughton (2005), described, trained, and measured active engagement and assisted with the identification of engagement opportunities throughout the "typical" lives of parents and children focusing on the three key components of active engagement: routines, well-regulate state, and response to and initiation of communication bids. The intent of training was to increase engaged activities between parents and children to a level closer to the optimal prescribed levels (25 hours). Findings supported the use of CPI with two participants in promoting two of three dependent variables related to active engagement (i.e., the creation or routines and communication bids). Findings are discussed with respect to increasing active engagement episodes in the lives of children with ASD.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
Active Engagement, Autism, Communication Partner Instruction
Children with autism spectrum disorders -- North Carolina -- Jackson County -- Case studies
Parents of autistic children -- North Carolina -- Jackson County -- Case studies
Education -- Parent participation -- North Carolina -- Jackson County -- Case studies
Parent and child -- North Carolina -- Jackson County -- Case studies

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