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The Impact of a Brief Home-Based Intervention on Families with a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Background: A brief intervention is described and evaluated that aimed to build and strengthen relationships for families of children diagnosed with ASD aged 12 and under. Methods: A particular focus was on socially disadvantaged parents. Parents were offered around five home visits which took place on weekdays during working hours; each lasting around 90 min. They were given individualised practical tools and support to manage their children's behaviours alongside providing a listening ear to parents' concerns. Findings: In all, 456 children and 427 families participated over a four-year period with a take-up rate of 87% of all referrals. The drop-out rate was low (4.5%) as was the proportion of missed and cancelled appointments. Parents' satisfaction ratings were high and most found the number of sessions provided was 'just right'. Children improved in their personal care, had less difficulty with change, showed less anger and had fewer meltdowns. Parents reported being less stressed, not feeling so down and managing their child better. Conclusions: The evaluations suggested that a brief home-based intervention is a viable and effective means of providing personalized, post-diagnostic support to parents at periodic intervals, although socially disadvantaged families may require additional assistance beyond managing their child's ASD. The project also highlighted broader issues that impede effective support for families. 

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Journal of Developmental & Physical Disabilities
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