Parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder must navigate a complex system of services and make important decisions about their child that may be different than what they expected. Parents of children with ASD also report higher levels of depression and anxiety, higher levels of conflict with their spouse or partner, and lower levels of satisfaction and parental effectiveness compared to parents of children with no disability.
The Family Foundations Autism Program, currently offered in Richland, Lexington and surrounding counties and some Greenville areas, provides important insights and skills for parents of children recently diagnosed.
The Intervention-How Does Family Foundations: Autism Parent Navigators Work?
This program provides a six session, home-based intervention that has been adapted from an evidence-based intervention to meet the unique needs of families with children with autism. It’s delivered by trained parent mentors through home visits, with the goal of increasing parent well-being, treatment adherence and child outcomes. It incorporates the following innovative elements:
- Grounded in current theory and research evidence related to families and autism.
- Adopts a family-centered approach to promoting family resilience, improving parent mental health and adherence to treatment, and improving child treatment outcomes.
- Use of trained parent mentors, not only enhancing participant sense of trust and social support, but is a cost-effective approach mobilizing an existing workforce (as parent mentoring is a common voluntary and funded activity in many states), and thus increases the likelihood of widespread dissemination.
- Focus extends beyond mothers to include fathers and other parenting partners.
Includes an advocacy skills training component to help parents secure needed services for their child with confidence.
- Employs in-home delivery, flexible scheduling and child-care support to maximize parent involvement and reduce drop-out.
*IRB Approved, Randomized study developed with the University of South Carolina, College of Social Work