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Clinical Trial
, 11 (6), 266-72

A Pilot Randomised Control Trial of a Parent Training Intervention for Pre-School Children With Autism. Preliminary Findings and Methodological Challenges

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Clinical Trial

A Pilot Randomised Control Trial of a Parent Training Intervention for Pre-School Children With Autism. Preliminary Findings and Methodological Challenges

Auriol Drew et al. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry.

Abstract

Few attempts have been made to conduct randomised control trials (RCTs) of interventions for pre-school children with autism. We report findings of a pilot RCT for a parent training intervention with a focus on the development of joint attention skills and joint action routines. Twenty-four children meeting ICD-10 criteria for childhood autism (mean age = 23 months) were identified using the CHAT screen and randomised to the parent training group or to local services only. A follow-up was conducted 12 months later (mean age = 35 months). There was some evidence that the parent training group made more progress in language development than the local services group. However, the present pilot study was compromised by several factors: a reliance on parental report to measure language, non-matching of the groups on initial IQ, and a lack of systematic checking regarding the implementation of the parent training intervention. Furthermore, three parents in the local services group commenced intensive, home-based behavioural intervention during the course of the study. The difficulties encountered in the conduct of RCTs for pre-school children with autism are discussed. Methodological challenges and strategies for future well-designed RCTs for autism interventions are highlighted.

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