Examining the efficacy of parent-child interaction therapy with children on the autism spectrum
Externalizing behaviors are a common component of the clinical presentation of autism spectrum disorders. Although traditionally used with typically-developing children, parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT) is one behaviorally-based parent training program that has demonstrated success in increasing child compliance, reducing problem behavior, and improving parent-child communication. The study examined the efficacy of PCIT as a treatment for children with autism spectrum disorders by employing a single subject, non-concurrent multiple baseline design across three subjects. Primary findings revealed increases in child compliance, reductions in child disruptive behavior, and improved parenting skills across participants. In addition, each caregiver reported high levels of satisfaction with the intervention. Results suggested that PCIT may be a treatment option for children on the autism spectrum with co-occurring behavioral difficulties. Although the non-concurrent nature of the multiple baseline design is a limitation, this study replicates and extends previous research investigating the efficacy of PCIT with children with autism and their parents.