Positive parenting to manage challenging kids with autism

04 August 2014
Autism Research

The Stepping Stones Triple P is a parenting program specially tailored for parents of children with a disability. It gives parents and teachers the strategies they need to manage their children’s challenging behaviour and raise happy, confident children.

Programs are usually delivered through hospitals and medical clinics, but the Kids Research Institute has been working with schools in NSW through its School-link Project to offer group sessions to parents by specially trained school counsellors or teachers.

An evaluation found parents who took part were calmer when their children misbehaved, and had a more consistent parenting style. They were much less stressed and anxious about their children’s behaviour and felt better able to cope.

Offering the intervention through the school meant it was easier to reach out to more parents and to work together to help children behave better both at home and school. For example, teachers would reward good behaviour in the classroom with a treat that the parents could give at home.

“It helped them to feel it wasn’t just their problem, that we were attacking it from both angles and working on the same page,” says Nerissa King, Learning and Support Teacher at Telarah Public School, which took part in the study.

The study evaluated the program for both children with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disability.

“The study provided a vital pilot of how Stepping Stones Triple P can have a significant impact on parenting style and parental mental health,” says Dr Phil Ray, Research Lead for the project.

“Our aim over the next year is to maintain and build on this success with further training for school based staff so that as many parents and children as possible have access to this program.”

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