Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) begins early in life and has a major and longstanding impact on quality of life, both for the individuals affected and their families. There are currently no medical treatments that address the core symptoms of ASD. There is however emerging evidence that early interventions that are delivered in the home setting by parents and early on in the child’s life can improve core ASD symptoms, associated behaviour problems, and parental and family health in general. Surprisingly, there have been no attempts to produce an integrated parenting intervention for ASD addressing these key domains of child functioning and parent well-being within the one intervention. This project will develop and evaluate an integrated parenting intervention for children with ASD that: 1) is evidence-based, time-limited and cost-effective; 2) addresses the interdependent domains of child and parent functioning within the one intervention; and 3) can be delivered during the child’s early critical development. We will establish the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of the world’s first parent-mediated integrated intervention for parents of children with ASD that targets the three synergistic elements of early intervention for ASD: child social communication skills, child behaviour problems, and parent/family well-being, within the one integrated intervention at the critical period for child neurodevelopmental plasticity.
Co-Investigators: Professor Valsa Eapen, Dr David Hawes, Dr Lucy Tully, Professor Adam Guastella and Associate Professor Natalie Silove.