Telehealth-Based Program Demonstrates Great Success for Rural ASD Families

January 16, 2023

Online OASIS Program Improved Parent Behavioral Training Skills by 80-100%

Parents of children with autism living in rural areas often face challenges when accessing services due to their remote location. To combat this problem, a group of clinicians developed the Online and Applied System for Intervention Skills (OASIS) program, which trains parents to use Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) for their children at home. A recent study has examined the efficacy of the OASIS program by studying four parent-child pairs. All children in this study had an autism diagnosis and resided with their parents in rural/underserved areas. The study’s design included the authors taking baseline assessments at the beginning of the study, which examined how parents previously facilitated task completions with their children. The intervention phase of the study consisted of once-a-week sessions for 16-21 weeks for 1.5-2.0 hours per week via Zoom (i.e., live coaching sessions). Follow-up sessions occurred at 1-, 3-, and 5-weeks after training and were similar in design to the baseline assessments. Results showed that parent target skills increased by 80%-100% and were maintained at high levels for all four parent participants following treatment. After the intervention phase was over, the authors found that parents were consistently able to implement the necessary skills when working one-on-one with their children. This mastery of skills thrilled the authors since it ensured that parents were able to continue effective treatment procedures in the child’s most natural environment and in the absence of the OASIS coach. Additionally, the study called attention to travel time and cost savings telehealth-based parent training provides families. The participant families saved between $865 and $2087 in travel costs for the approximately six months of participation. The authors concluded that amid the growing health crises, increasing prevalence rates of autism, and a lack of qualified providers, telehealth and parent training are positioned to create a large-scale impact on how services are accessed and delivered for rural/underserved autism families. 

Original Study

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