Can Parents Break Communication Barrier With Autistic Children?

autistic, autism

A first-of-its-kind study is garnering global attention for showing how communications skills of parents can have long-lasting benefits for young children with autism. It’s the first study to show such lasting benefits and even experts who were not involved in the work are heralding its findings.

The Study at a Glance

Researchers at the University of Manchester (UK) studied 152 British children aged 2-4 who had serious issues associated with social communication and repetitive behaviors.

The children were divided into two groups:

  • One with standard treatment for both children and parents
  • Another where parents worked directly with therapists to get a better understanding of how they can communicate with their child more effectively and pick up on their child’s cues for interaction

Both groups were analyzed six years later.

The children whose parents had received training from the therapists showed a much greater reduction in the severity of their symptoms than children in the other group.

How Parents’ Training With Therapists Was Conducted

Parents watched videos alongside a therapist of themselves interacting with their child.

The goal was to learn to spot when and how their child was interacting with them so that the parents could become more self-aware and could “self-learn” how to recognize signs.

The parents later led structured tasks for their child at home for half-hour increments every day.

Breaking Down The Communication Barrier

Rebecca Shalev, assistant professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU Langone’s Child Study Center, said “It’s not intuitive for parents to know how to interact with a child who has autism. Being able to play together and have enjoyable experiences is a benefit for everyone.”

The parent-led therapy approach also holds promise for people in areas where options are limited.

“This study demonstrates that parent-delivered therapy can be used effectively in low-resource communities where there are few trained professionals,” said Geraldine Dawson of the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development.

Does Your Child Have Autism? Call The Fitzgerald Law Firm

We’re excited about this very encouraging news for children with autism and their parents because even the mildest forms of autism can seriously impact a person’s entire life.

If your child has autism and you’re not sure of the cause, call us here at The Fitzgerald Law Firm. The first appointment is always free, so call us at 800-323-9900.