Parent-Mediated Intervention Training Delivered Remotely for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder Living Outside of Urban Areas: Systematic Review
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Background: Parent training programs for families living outside of urban areas can be used to improve the social behavior and communication skills in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, no review has been conducted to investigate these programs. Objective: The aim of this study was to (1) systematically review the existing evidence presented by studies on parent-mediated intervention training, delivered remotely for parents having children with ASD and living outside of urban areas; (2) provide an overview of current parent training interventions used with this population; (3) and provide an overview of the method of delivery of the parent training interventions used with this population. Methods: Guided by the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) statement, we conducted a comprehensive review across 5 electronic databases (CINAHL, Embase, ERIC, PsycINFO, and Pubmed) on July 4, 2016, searching for studies investigating parent-mediated intervention training for families living outside of urban centers who have a child diagnosed with ASD. Two independent researchers reviewed the articles for inclusion, and assessment of methodological quality was based on the Kmet appraisal checklist. Results: Seven studies met the eligibility criteria, including 2 prepost cohort studies, 3 multiple baseline studies, and 2 randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Interventions included mostly self-guided websites: with and without therapist assistance (n=6), with training videos, written training manuals, and videoconferencing. Post intervention, studies reported significant improvements (P<.05) in parent knowledge (n=4), parent intervention fidelity (n=6), and improvements in children’s social behavior and communication skills (n=3). A high risk of bias existed within all of the studies because of a range of factors including small sample sizes, limited use of standardized outcome measures, and a lack of control groups to negate confounding factors. Conclusions: There is preliminary evidence that parent-mediated intervention training delivered remotely may improve parent knowledge, increase parent intervention fidelity, and improve the social behavior and communication skills for children with ASD. A low number of RCTs, difficulty in defining the locality of the population, and a paucity of standardized measures limit the generalization of the findings to the target population. Future studies should investigate the appropriateness and feasibility of the interventions, include RCTs to control for bias, and utilize standard outcome measures.
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