Speaker: Karen Bearss, PhD; Seattle Children’s Autism Center, Autism 200 Series
The RUBI Autism Network > News
Speaker: Karen Bearss, PhD; Seattle Children’s Autism Center, Autism 200 Series
Speaker: Karen Bearss, PhD; Grand Rounds: Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington
A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center found a parent training program can help reduce behavior problems in children with autism.
The study, the largest clinical trial to date, was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers said a parent training program decreased tantrums, aggression, self-injury and other serious behavior problems in children with autism by 47.7 percent. The program lasts 24 weeks and includes 11 core sessions in which a clinician works one-to-one with the primary caregiver for 1 – 1 ½ hours. There are also two home visits and up to four additional sessions.
A promising new study, conducted partly in Rochester, may give hope to the parents of autistic children.
The research looked at ways a training program could help parents and other caregivers reduce problem behaviors in kids on the autism spectrum.
Local lead researcher Tristam Smith, Ph.D., of the University of Rochester says the 24-week course resulted in a more than 47-percent reduction in tantrums, aggression and self-injury in children between the ages of 3 and 6.
“We’re hoping that by intervening when the kids are young, it will prevent some of the more intensive interventions that they might need later on and also things like medications that might be helpful, but if we can make it so that is not necessary, that, we think, is a good thing,” he said.
It’s estimated that six out of 1,000 children worldwide are affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and 50 percent demonstrate serious and disruptive behavior, including tantrums, aggression, self-injury and noncompliance.
For children with ASD, serious disruptive behavior interrupts daily functioning and social skills development, limits their ability to benefit from education and speech therapy, can increase social isolation and intensify caregiver stress.
Luc Lecavalier and his team of researchers from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center conducted a 24-week parent training study designed to effectively reduce serious behavioral problems in young children with ASD.
The study, the largest randomized, multi-center trial to evaluate behavioral interventions for ASD, appears today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
A multi-site study sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) finds young children with autism spectrum disorder and serious behavioral problems respond positively to a 24-week structured parent training. The benefits of parent training endured for up to six months post intervention.
Published in the April 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association the study found parent training was more effective in reducing disruptive and aggressive behavior than 24 weeks of parent education. Parent training provided parents with specific strategies on how to manage serious behavioral problems such as tantrums, aggression, self-injury and noncompliance in children with autism spectrum disorder. Parent education offered useful information on autism — but did not provide guidance on how to manage serious behavioral problems.
The lead author, Karen Bearss, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics at Marcus Autism Center and Emory University School of Medicine remarked, “It’s striking that children in both groups improved, but on measures of disruptive and noncompliant behavior, parent training was clearly better.”
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a chronic condition beginning in early childhood defined by impaired social communication and repetitive behavior. The disorder affects 0.6 to 1 percent of children worldwide. In young children, ASD is often complicated by serious behavioral problems such as tantrums, aggression, self-injury and severe noncompliance in response to routine environmental demands. These disruptive behaviors can be overwhelming for parents and foster profound uncertainty on how to handle these problems. There are approved medications for these disruptive behavioral problems, but parents of young children with ASD are often reluctant to use medication.
A new study documents the effectiveness of a training program that teaches parents strategies for managing challenging behavior in young children with autism.
The report appears today in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study enrolled 180 children with autism, ages 3 to 7 years, and their parents. Roughly half the parents received behavior intervention training. The training consisted of eleven 60- to 90-minute sessions with a therapist over 16 weeks. The therapist taught management strategies for challenging behaviors such as tantrums, aggression, self-injury and refusal to cooperate. This was followed by one home visit and two phone consultations over the following two months.
For comparison, the other half of the parents (91) received twelve “parent education” sessions and one home visit. During these educational sessions, the parents learned about autism and autism services, but received no training in behavior management.
Before and after the parent sessions, specialists evaluated all the children for challenging behaviors using standardized checklists. All the children showed improvements.
Children with autism spectrum disorder often struggle to communicate their needs, a problem that can result in frequent angry outbursts and persistent behavioral problems. Parents of autistic children are sometimes ill-equipped to handle the extra challenges and can feel overwhelmed by their children’s special needs.
The good news is that with the right support and training, parents can develop the skills to properly care for their autistic child when behavior and communication are at their worst.
A new study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, finds children with autism showed marked improvement in behavior after their parents underwent a 24-week structured training program created to help manage disruptive and aggressive behavior. Even more, the benefits of the training program endured for at least six months after the intervention.
“Children with autism often display problem behavior that can be very challenging for families,” Kara Reagon, PhD, associate director of dissemination science at Autism Speaks, told CBS News. “All behavior serves a person. Sometimes children with autism have behavioral problems because they don’t have the communication skills to say what they want.”
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have a significant reduction in behavioral problems when parents are given specific training, found a large multi-center study published Tuesday in JAMA. Working with the parents of 180 children between ages 3 and 7 with autism and behavioral problems, investigators from the six participating universities randomly assigned them to a 24-week parent-training program or a 24-week parent-education program.
The parent-education program was the study’s “placebo” group. Typically, during behavioral studies, the control group consists of participants who are put on a wait list who don’t initially receive any intervention.
“We brought what you’d typically see in a drug trial to behavioral interventions, which has never been done,” study author Luc Lecavalier, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told FoxNews.com. “[This is] the largest randomized control trial ever done in the field of autism when it comes to a behavioral intervention, a non-psychopharmaceutical intervention.”
Researchers found that serious behavior problems were reduced by 47 percent for the parent-training group, compared to about 31 percent for parent-education participants. Overall progress responses were recorded by a blinded clinician. At week 24, 70 percent of the parent-training group’s children showed a positive response, compared to 40 percent of those of the parent-education group. Six months after the trial ended, participants were reevaluated and 79 percent of the training group maintained improvement.