Effect of Parent Training on Adaptive Behavior in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder and Disruptive Behavior: Results of a Randomized Trial

Lawrence Scahill, Karen Bearss, Luc Lecavalier, Tristram Smith, Naomi Swiezy, Michael G. Aman, Denis G. Sukhodolsky, Courtney McCracken, Noha Minshawi, Kylan Turner, Lynne Levato, Celine Saulnier, James Dziura, Cynthia Johnson

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Abstract

Objective This study examined the impact of parent training on adaptive behavior in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and disruptive behavior. Methods This was a 24-week, 6-site, randomized trial of parent training versus parent education in 180 children with ASD (aged 3−7 years; 158 boys and 22 girls) and moderate or greater behavioral problems. Parent training included specific strategies to manage disruptive behavior over 11 to 13 sessions, 2 telephone boosters, and 2 home visits. Parent education provided useful information about autism but no behavior management strategies over 12 core sessions and 1 home visit. In a previous report, we showed that parent training was superior to parent education in reducing disruptive behavior in young children with ASD. Here, we test whether parent training is superior to parent education in improving daily living skills as measured by the parent-rated Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales II. The long-term impact of parent training on adaptive functioning is also presented. Results At week 24, the parent training group showed a 5.7-point improvement from baseline on the Daily Living domain compared to no change in parent education (p =.004; effect size = 0.36). On the Socialization domain, there was a 5.9-point improvement in parent training versus a 3.1-point improvement in parent education (p =.11; effect size = 0.29). Gains in the Communication domain were similar across treatment groups. The gain in Daily Living was greater in children with IQ of >70. However, the interaction of treatment-by-IQ was not significant. Gains in Daily Living at week 24 were maintained upon re-evaluation at 24 weeks posttreatment. Conclusion These results support the model that reduction in disruptive behavior can lead to improvement in activities of daily living. By contrast, the expected trajectory for adaptive behavior in children with ASD is often flat and predictably declines in children with intellectual disability. In the parent training group, higher-functioning children achieved significant gains in daily living skills. Children with intellectual disability kept pace with time. Clinical trial registration information—Randomized Trial of Parent Training for Young Children With Autism (RUBI); http://clinicaltrials.gov/; NCT01233414.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)602-609.e3
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume55
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

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Keywords

  • adaptive behavior
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • disruptive behavior
  • parent training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Scahill, L., Bearss, K., Lecavalier, L., Smith, T., Swiezy, N., Aman, M. G., Sukhodolsky, D. G., McCracken, C., Minshawi, N., Turner, K., Levato, L., Saulnier, C., Dziura, J., & Johnson, C. (2016). Effect of Parent Training on Adaptive Behavior in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder and Disruptive Behavior: Results of a Randomized Trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 55(7), 602-609.e3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2016.05.001