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CAR Autism Roadmap
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CAR Autism Roadmap
Roberts Center for Pediatric Research
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Parent (Caretaker) Training


Parent training is a collaboration between parents/caretakers and practitioners. In other words, those who know the child in his or her environment collaborating with those who have the expertise and knowledge to further the developmental process.

Parent training programs teach parents of children on the autism spectrum strategies to enhance natural learning opportunities, to encourage appropriate behavior, and to increase skill development while in the home and in the community. Parent-implemented interventions are recognized by The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders as being an evidence-based practice. This means that there is research to support the effectiveness of parent training programs.

Parent training is used to teach a number of abilities, including social communication skills, joint attention, interactive play, improved compliance, and reduction of aggression or disruptive behaviors.

Parent training takes a family-centered approach and thus is sensitive and responsive to the needs and culture of the family. Parents and practitioners together plan treatment goals and intervention delivery. The intervention plan often includes goals for the parent and the entire family, as well as for the child on the autism spectrum, hopefully resulting in improved parent-child interactions and an increased positive family atmosphere.

The components of parent training include direct instruction, feedback and coaching, modeling, and role playing and behavioral rehearsal. Techniques may include the use of praise and positive attention, administration of rewards, ignoring, and rule-setting. Sessions can be done with individual parents or in groups of parents. The duration of parent training varies widely, depending on the goals being set and the characteristics of the child and family.

The Center for Autism Research and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia do not endorse or recommend any specific person or organization or form of treatment. The information included within the CAR Autism Roadmap™ and CAR Resource Directory™ should not be considered medical advice and should serve only as a guide to resources publicly and privately available. Choosing a treatment, course of action, and/or a resource is a personal decision, which should take into account each individual's and family's particular circumstances.