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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name



Health Education

First Advisor

Leah R. Ketcheson


Background: Although data collected over the past 15 years show that early intervention results in the most optimal outcomes, circumstances due to COVID 19 have limited the opportunity for ‘in person’ interactions family interventionist interactions. Virtual sessions are challenging for many parents as they are oftentimes faced with the responsibility of continually re-directing their child to promote ‘on-task’ behavior. Purpose: The purpose of this caregiver training program was to explore the increases of quality of positive interactions between caregivers and child as a result of a virtual behavioral training program for caregivers. Methods: All activities were delivered through weekly modules posted online for parents to access (see Each week a new behavioral topic was delivered to caregivers through a pre-recorded online video and knowledge check consisting of five questions. All caregiver-child dyads then subsequently participated in a weekly 30-minute group Zoom® session. During the Zoom® sessions, the PI reviewed the skill, and caregivers had the opportunity to ask questions, practice the skill, and receive virtual ‘real time’ feedback. Results: A total of 14 caregiver-child dyads participated. A Wilcoxon signed-rank test demonstrated statistically significance between pre-and-post-intervention scores on the TSI (z = 2.748, p = .006) with a large effect size (r = .54). A multiple stepwise regression analysis revealed that a child’s overall ABC score (F (1,7) = 6.391, p = .039) were significant positive predictors of the post-TSI scores (b = .297, p = .039). Conclusion: Finding support the utilization of a virtual intervention to change caregivers’ behaviors as they interact with their young child on the autism spectrum.

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