In-Home Training for Fathers of Children with Autism: A Follow up Study and Evaluation of Four Individual Training Components

Publication Title

Journal of Child and Family Studies

Publication Date


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In-Home training, autism, fathers, parent training




Literature regarding fathers of children with autism remains sparse, and because mothers are the more common intervening parent, few training methods have focused on fathers. Thus, we sought to evaluate effects of in-home training directed at fathers and their ability to train mothers in the same manner in which they were trained. Fathers were taught four skills commonly associated with in-home training interventions for parents of children with autism: following the child's lead, imitation with animation, commenting on the child, and expectant waiting. Father skills were evaluated twice a week for 12 weeks during videotaped in-home father-child play sessions. Analyses included visual inspection of graphed data and statistical analyses of father skill acquisition, mother skill acquisition, and child behaviors with both parents. A multivariate repeated measures analysis of 18 dyads revealed significant increases in frequencies of fathers' imitation with animation, expectant waiting, and commenting on the child. Child initiating rates increased significantly as did frequencies of child non-speech vocalizations. Analysis of mothers revealed significant increases in frequencies of imitation with animation, expectant waiting, and following the child's lead. Child behaviors had similar results for father and mother sessions. Findings are consistent with those from our first study indicating that fathers can effectively implement skills that promote father-child social interactions and that children respond positively to this approach.