Education Online: Helping Parents of Children with Autism

 August 6, 2016
Posted by M&LAdmin4

Saturday, August 8, 2016

Hello everyone, and welcome back to the blog this week! Thank you all for taking the time to visit our website.

As parents of individuals with disabilities, we are all familiar with the on-going struggle to help our children be the best that they can be, to ensure that they reach their fullest potential as independent, productive, and fulfilled adults. For many of us, the first step in this process is to fully understand our child’s diagnosis.  And then to continue to try to comprehend what’s needed as they go through the many stages of development.

I feel confident in saying that every one of us has spent countless hours learning about our child’s disability and researching how to best help him or her.   We are compelled to educate ourselves about the best therapies available. Then we have to figure out how to access these therapies and share what we have learned with family members, educators, and caregivers. .

A new study reports on an interesting and innovative trend that may assist parents in their search for ways to help their children with disabilities: online training. Online autism training, to be specific. According to an article published in Disability Scoop in May, this study shows that access to online training can improve the ways in which parents, guardians, and caregivers help individuals with autism improve skills.

The Study: What is it?

The study, which was published in the Journal of Autism and Development Disorders, is titled “Comparison of a Self-Directed and Therapist-Assisted Telehealth Parent-Mediated Intervention for Children with ASD: A Pilot RCT.” The research team (led by Brook Ingersall of Michigan State University) designed and delivered a “75-minute online lesson introducing research-based intervention techniques once a week for 12 weeks. Half of the parents also participated in 30-minute coaching sessions with a therapist via videoconferencing twice weekly where the lessons were reinforced.”

Children of the parents participating in the study were assessed before and after the sessions were completed, and again three months later. The results showed definite improvements in the children’s social communication skills, and parents displayed less stress and greater competence. Specifically, (according to the study’s abstract) “Parents in both groups improved their intervention fidelity, self-efficacy, stress, and positive perceptions of their child.” The study also notes that parents  who received the online training as well as the therapist sessions also showed “gains in parent fidelity and positive perceptions of the child.”

In short, researchers concluded that online training programs for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder could potentially benefit from access to online services, and that these benefits were increased when these services were supplemented by sessions with therapists, even if these sessions took place via teleconference. The study did note, however, that these findings are preliminary, and urged for more research to be done on this subject.

To read this study in full or to learn more about the research team, please follow this link.

Finding Online Autism Training

Although we find this topic, the study and the concept of online training for autism intriguing, we must emphasize that this blog post is intended for informational purposes only. It is important to note that the outcomes of this study resulted from both online training sessions as well as teleconference sessions with a therapist, all designed by the research team.

As such, you may wish to consult with medical and therapeutic professionals before beginning your search. It is important to research any online autism training program thoroughly – and consult with professionals – before enrolling. Furthermore, research the skills and techniques with professionals before applying them in your daily routine.

Having said that, we have come across a few online autism training courses/programs that we feel are worthy of research. Please following the below links to learn more about each program, and begin your journey towards exploring online autism training.

Geneva Center for Autism: Introduction for Autism – Free Online Series for Educators

National Autistic Society: Autism Online Training

Autism Speaks: Online Learning Tools and Software

Autism Internet Modules

Would You Like More Information?

Again, thank you all so much for visiting our website today.  We hope this blog post was useful in some way to you and your family member with special needs.

If you would like to learn more about this topic, we encourage you to contact us! We can put you in touch with special needs professionals and experts that can help you and your family achieve long term success.

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