A web-based tutorial for parents of young children with autism: results from a pilot study

Telemed J E Health. 2011 Dec;17(10):804-8. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2011.0060. Epub 2011 Oct 19.


Objective: Early intervention can significantly improve long-term outcomes for children with autism. Unfortunately, many children do not receive early intervention services due to a critical shortage of trained professionals in this area. To bridge this gap, we evaluated a Web-based parent training tutorial (Enhancing Interactions), based on evidence-based practices and utilizing the Web-based platform to maximize learning.

Methods: Twenty-three parents with a child between 18 months and 6 years with an autism spectrum disorder participated. Pre- and posttest scores of parents' knowledge were used to evaluate tutorial effectiveness. The system usability scale (SUS) evaluated technical user-friendliness and the user satisfaction questionnaire (USQ), gauged satisfaction with content.

Results: The mean number of correct items on the posttest significantly increased, from 12.6 to 20.4, p<0.001. The mean SUS score was 85 (standard deviation=17), corresponding to a score of "excellent." All participants found the tutorial user friendly, well integrated, and 96% (all but one participant) thought it was easy to use, felt confident using the technical features, and would use a tutorial like this again. On the USQ, all participants found that the tutorial was well organized, clearly presented, and easy to understand; that it increased their knowledge about communicating with their child; and that they felt capable of applying these techniques with their child.

Conclusions: The tutorial appears effective in increasing parents' knowledge with high user satisfaction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive* / psychology
  • Child Welfare
  • Child, Preschool
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Internet*
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Software
  • Telemedicine / organization & administration*
  • Time Factors
  • User-Computer Interface
  • Young Adult