Behavioral training for parents of retarded children: alternative formats based on instructional manuals

Am J Ment Defic. 1977 Sep;82(2):194-203.


A series of instructional manuals in behavior modification with retarded children was tested as a self-contained resource and as part of three larger training programs involving different amounts of professional assistance to parents: telephone consultations, training groups, training groups plus home visits. One hundred and sixty families were randomly assigned to the four training conditions or to a delayed-treatment control group. The 20-week treatment period emphasized the programming of self-help skills, but also provided an introduction to programming language skills and managing behavior problems. The manuals-alone format was as effective as the more expensive training formats in producing gains in children's self-help skills and fostering knowledge of behavioral principles in mothers. The two group-training formats produced more efforts at behavior-problem management, greater gains in knowledge of principles by fathers, and higher self-confidence as teachers. Telephone consultation was generally the least effective training format; the manuals-alone condition was surprisingly effective. Some implications of the results for future strategies of family intervention were discussed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Behavior Therapy / education*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / rehabilitation*
  • Language Development
  • Male
  • Parents / education*
  • Play and Playthings
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Teaching / methods
  • Teaching Materials*
  • Telephone