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Parent Training

What is Parent Training for Autism?

Parent training for autism is an evidence-based treatment used in the management of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or simply referred to as autism.

Autism is a neurological and developmental disorder that affects the development of physical, emotional, and social skills in an individual. People affected by the condition usually display difficulty in communicating and socializing with others and often keep to themselves. The disorder has no cure, but early intervention and treatment through ways such as parent training can assist the child in gaining the necessary behavioral and social skills to function effectively in different environments.

Raising a child with autism can be very challenging, specifically for parents who do not have easy access to psychological treatment. Parents training for autism is a psychotherapeutic technique in which clinicians teach parents effective parenting skills and behaviors useful in day-to-day speech and language interactions with children so that parents are the main drivers of change for their children.

What Does Parent Training for Autism Involve?

Parent training for autism involves a wide range of interventions such as treatments for language or social development, psychoeducation, care coordination, as well as programs designed to address maladaptive behaviors. Parent training is provided in an interactive format such as facilitated discussion and activities that address the main issues being faced by families with autistic children. In general, parent training topics include:

  • Managing the challenges of parenting a child with autism
  • Increasing communication skills
  • Increasing self-help skills/independence
  • Increasing play skills
  • Solving day-to-day problems
  • Increasing coping skills and addressing negative behaviors

What are the Components of a Parent Training for an Autism Program?

The main components of parent training for autism are:

  • Behavior modification techniques: This technique helps in understanding and changing behaviors so the child has more appropriate behaviors for learning and managing social circumstances.
  • Teaching procedures: Since individuals with autism have a short attention span and communication impairment, they need teaching procedures that take into account their special needs. Teaching procedures provide parents with direct practical experience and show them how to implement proper teaching techniques that will allow their child to learn.
  • Social/play skills: Autistic children may not have age-appropriate social or play skills. Play is a significant component in a child’s development of communication and social skills. The social/play skills component focuses on the play where clinicians work with parents to develop play skills in their child which in turn improves their social skills.
  • Use of schedules: Many children with autism have trouble accepting change and moving from one activity to another. Hence, the addition of a “schedule” component to parent training helps teach parents to manage the behavioral issue that often occurs as the child gets older or when the child transitions from one activity to another.


Parent training for autism is a parent-focused, evidence-based treatment for developing children with autism. The focus of the training program is to maximize the quality of time that the parent spends with the child by teaching focused one-on-one skills that are tailored individually to each child and that take into account the child's strengths, emerging skills, and weakest skill areas and work towards bettering it. One-on-one intervention, in a positive, supportive environment aids a child with autism to overcome many of the limitations of the condition.