The Effects of A Self-Directed Telehealth Parent Training Program for Children Newly Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders in China
Parent training (PT) is a prominent task shifting approach to supplementing service insufficiency for the population with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), yet barriers such as financial burdens, geographic isolations, shortage of providers have prevented the dissemination of PT. The use of telehealth in delivering PT has been demonstrated to be a cost-effective means of increasing service reach, which is particularly crucial in less-resourced countries, such as China. The proposed study is the first to evaluate whether a telehealth self-directed PT program would (1) improve parent knowledge, skills, stress and self-efficacy, (2) increase child social communication skills, and (3) be acceptable and feasible to parents in the mainland China context. A randomized controlled trial will be conducted with 60 parents of children newly diagnosed with ASD in Guangzhou. Changes in parents’ scores on ASD knowledge, fidelity of implementation, level of stress, and self-efficacy, and changes in children’s scores on social communication behaviors from pre- to post-intervention will be compared by group. Parents in the treatment group will also rate on their satisfactions of the clinical content and the technical aspects of the program. Findings of the study may contribute to the limited evidence regarding parent training programs for children with ASD in China. The comprehensive and cultural-responsive online training and education framework developed in this study may have the potential of further implementation and dissemination in the Chinese societies.