Who are you?
UBC Professors Pat Mirenda (Department of Educational & Counselling Psychology, and Special Education) and Anthony Bailey (Department of Psychiatry), are studying a scalable approach to support parents of young children with signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) so they can provide early intervention for their children and make their daily routines less stressful.
The Parent and Child Early (PACE) Coaching Project will establish a province-wide community of practice to support families of children showing signs of ASD. By working collaboratively with Child Development Centres, Aboriginal Infant Development Programs, and Aboriginal Supported Child Development programs, the team will teach service providers who work with toddlers at risk for ASD to coach parents to provide social and communication supports to their children during naturally-occurring daily routines.
What problem are you solving?
There is often a delay of 12-18 months between the time when parents start to notice signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder and the child is diagnosed and begins to receive targeted treatment. By training service providers to coach parents on how to provide social and communication supports to their children during playtime, bathtime, mealtime, and other every-day routines, the Parent and Child Early (PACE) Coaching Project hopes to optimize the development of children who may be at risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder.
How does your idea contribute to society?
The importance of early intervention for children with signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder is well documented. Parents can make a huge difference in optimizing the development of their child who shows signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The project will examine the effectiveness of a scalable model that trains childcare service providers to coach parents in strategies that will support their child’s development.
What do you need now?
If the research outcomes are positive, additional funding will be needed to incorporate parent coaching into the curriculum of all Early Childhood Education and Special Education programs, so that we have an adequate number of qualified trainers to coach parents.