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This is a presentation on the problems of parents with autistic children and effective intervention strategies.

This is a presentation on the problems of parents with autistic children and effective intervention strategies.

Published in Health & Medicine , Education
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  • The types of autism intervention strategies that will be discussed are: Parent-coached language, pharmacological, nurse practitioner and transdisciplinary intervention
  • Medications for ASD are conventionally used for the management of disruptive behaviors, self injury, aggression, compulsions, hyperactivity, mood swings, anxiety and sleep disturbances>Although medication will not cure autism, it can alleviate most impairing or distressing behavioral symptoms that may interfere with education and socialization>Consequently, this may also decrease parental stress in regards to how well their child is performing in school and interacting with their peers.
  • Commonly prescribed medications are antidepressants, atypical antipsychotics, stimulants and alpha-adrenergic agonists.>risperidone is the most widely researched atypical medication and only one to have received FDA approval for treatment of behavioral symptoms associated with ASD
  • In 2005, an intervention pilot study was conducted to determine the effects of nursing intervention on post-diagnosis stress among parents of children with ASD>Nurse spent 3 hours/week training the parents on coping strategies, behavior management, medications and nutrition.
  • Another strategy is transdisciplinary assessment>physical, occupational and speech therapists>Involves parents and therapists meeting to discuss treatment for the child in terms of what is or is not working and ideas for new treatments or treatment modifications.>IMPLICATIONS>This could decrease amount of visits to individual specialists, thus saving parents valuable time and money
  • There have not been many experimental studies or trials on the effects of intervention strategies on anxiety, stress and depression among parents of autistic children. Much of the research seems to be based on self-reporting methods>However, both types of research seem to indicate advantages to incorporating some kind of outside intervention when caring for an autistic child>FUTURE RESEARCH SUGGESTIONS>
  • Parents need to be proactive and open-minded when seeking interventions to help their autistic children. Autism is a disorder that still being studied by psychology and medical professionals. Therefore, parents should remain flexible and willing to adjust to new treatments and coping strategies. This may relieve their stress, anxiety and depression and allow them to face the many challenges of caring for a child with Autistic Disorder. This concludes my presentation, thank you for your time.


  • 1. Autistic Children
    Parental Problems and Types of Effective Intervention
    Portia Stevens
    PSY492 Capstone
    Argosy University
  • 2. Parenting a Child with Autistic Disorder is Challenging
    Communication is limited
    Parental frustration is increased
    Medical/treatment bills pile up
    Parents experience anxiety, stress and depression
  • 3. What is Autism
    Formally called Autistic Disorder
    One part of a group of developmental disorders Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (Bloch, Giarelli, Pinto-Martin, Levy and Souders, 2005).
    People with ASD have limited communication and social skills.
  • 4. Symptoms of Autism
    Less eye contact when conversing
    Inability to comprehend the rules of social interaction
    Temper tantrums brought on by a change in routine or schedule
    Literal interpretation of jargon such as chitchat
    Abnormal body movements
    Inability to read facial expressions
  • 5. Cases are Increasing
    In 2003, the California Department of Developmental Services reported a 634% increase in autism cases from 1987-2002 (Connolly, Novak, & Twoy, 2007).
  • 6. Problems Caused by Autism
    Physical Conditions
    Gastrointestinal difficulties
    Loose stools
    Food selectivity
    Difficulty with initiation and maintenance of sleep
    Seizure disorders (Bloch, Giarelli, Pinto-Martin, Levy and Souders, 2005).
  • 7. Problems Caused by Autism
    Initial diagnosis causes a disruption in the family dynamic and “poses a great threat to the psychosocial well-being of parents” (Bloch, Giarelli, Pinto-Martin, Levy and Souders, 2005).
    Mothers’ anxiety, stress and depression was found to be specifically related to their child’s behavior problems.
    Fathers’ depression found to be related to the stress level of the mother (Brown et al., 2005)
  • 8. Four Phases of Grieving
    Phase 1: Shock and Disbelief
    Parents have an idea something is wrong but do not want to believe it.
    Both parents seek various opinions because they are in such disbelief.
    Phase 2: Expression of Grief
    Sadness and anger
    Realization that certain hopes and dreams may not happen (Elder & D’Alessandro, 2009).
  • 9. Four Phases of Grieving
    Phase 3: Disorganization and Despair
    Parents feel “out of control”
    Some parents seek additional employment
    Marital and familial stress increase
  • 10. Four Phases of Grieving
    Phase 4: Reorganization
    Families come to terms with their situation.
    Parents gain a deeper level of spiritual faith (Elder & D’Alessandro, 2009).
  • 11. Parents Need to Learn to Cope with:
    Ritualistic behaviors
    Getting more involved in therapy and educational decision making
    Increased contact with professionals
    Trying to find resources
    Utilizing technical and therapeutic support (Connolly, Novak & Twoy, 2007).
  • 12. Not All Know how to Cope
    Some parents choose to simply deny or avoid certain stressful situations associated with Autistic Disorder (Carlson, Daire, Kimemia, Mitcham, & Munyon, 2011).
    They could benefit from family counseling.
  • 13. Types of Interventions
    Parent-coached language
    Nurse practitioner
  • 14. Parent-Coached Language Intervention
    Parents utilized speech generating devices (SGDs).
    SGD intervention
    Helped children communicate
    May have a positive affect on parental perception of their child’s language development
    Child’s newfound capacity to communicate may alleviate pressure parents feel about lack of successful communication with their child (Romski et al., 2011).
  • 15. Pharmacological Intervention
    Medication is used to manage:
    disruptive behaviors
    self injury
    mood swings
    sleep disturbances (Elder & D’Alessandro, 2009).
  • 16. Pharmacological Intervention
    repetitive behavior
    self injury
    serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
    atypical antipsychotics
  • 17. Nurse Practitioner Intervention
    Effective in relieving parental stress
    Parental stress decreased.
    Parents felt more confident in their ability to care for their child.
    Both child and parents benefit
    nurse practitioner has the knowledge and skills to educate parents about the special needs and treatment options for their children (Bloch, Giarelli, Pinto-Martin, Levy and Souders, 2005).
  • 18. Transdisciplinary Intervention
    Parents and professionals from different disciplines meet and work together in assessing and planning treatment for the child.
    Implications of treating the child in one location are that parents will have more time to focus on other personal and family needs (Carlson, Daire, Kimemia, Mitcham & Munyon, 2011).
  • 19. Future Research Suggestions
    Larger sample sizes
    More representation of subjects of different ethnicities, cultures and socio-economic status in studies
    Less reliance on self reporting methods and more focus on empirical studies and trials
  • 20.
  • 21. References
    Abbey, D. (2009). Helping Families Find the Best Evidence: CAM Therapies for Autism
    Spectrum Disorders and Asperger's Disorder. . Retrieved August 2, 2011, from
    Barker, E., Floyd, F., Greenberg, J., Hartley, S., Orsmond, G., & Seltzer, M. (2011). Trajectories of
    emotional well-being in mothers of adolescents and adults with autism. Retrieved July 8,
    2011, from
    Bloch, J., Giarelli, E., Levy, S., Pinto-Martin, J., & Souders, M. (2005). Intervention pilot for
    parents of children with autistic spectrum disroder. Retrieved July 11, 2011, from
  • 22. References
    Brown, T., Francesca, D., Hastings, R., Kovshoff, H., Remington, B., & Ward, N.
    (2005). Systems analysis of stress and positive perceptions in mothers and fathers
    of pre-school children with autism. Retrieved July 10, 2011, from
    Carlson, R., Daire, ,. A., Kimemia, M., Mitcham, M., & Munyon, M. (2011).
    Examining distress of parents of children with and without special needs.
    Retrieved July 8, 2011, from
  • 23. References
    Connolly, P., Novak, J., & Twoy, R. (2007). Coping strategies used by parents of
    children with autism. Retrieved July 11, 2011, from
     Davis, N., & Carter, A. (2008). Parenting stress in mothers and fathers of toddlers
    with autism spectrum disorders: associations with child characteristics.
    Retrieved July 7, 2011, from
    Elder, J. H., & D'Alessandro, T. (2009). Supporting families of children with autism spectrum
    disorders: Questions parents ask and what nurses need to know. Retrieved August 2,
    2011, from
  • 24. References
    Kolb, M. J. (2009). An online training program for parents of children with
    autism. Retrieved August 1, 2011, from
    Romski, M., Sevcik, ,. R., Adamson, L. B., Smith, A., Cheslock, M., & Bakeman, R. (2011).
    Parent perceptions of the language development of toddlers with developmental delays
    before and after participation in parent-coached language interventions. . Retrieved
    August 2, 2011, from