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IES Grant

Title: Partnering with Early Intervention Providers to Increase Implementation of Parent Coaching for Families of Children with ASD
Center: NCSER Year: 2018
Principal Investigator: Pellecchia, Melanie Awardee: University of Pennsylvania
Program: Early Career Development and Mentoring      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (07/01/2018 - 06/30/2022) Award Amount: $399,857
Type: Training Award Number: R324B180017

Mentors: Stahmer, Aubyn; Beidas, Rinad

Purpose: The Principal Investigator (PI) will conduct a program of research for improving Part C early intervention (EI) providers' implementation of parent-mediated interventions with families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) while participating in mentoring and training activities to develop knowledge and skills related to parent coaching, mixed-methods research, community-partnered participatory research, and grant writing. Research demonstrates that parent-mediated early intervention for children with ASD results in improved child outcomes across a range of developmental domains. The common component of these interventions is parent coaching that involves providers actively teaching parents techniques to improve their children's functioning. However, evidence suggests that community providers infrequently implement such coaching with parents of young children with ASD. To address this gap, the PI intends to iteratively develop and test the feasibility and promise of a toolkit of implementation strategies designed to increase EI providers' use of parent coaching around an evidence-based parent-mediated intervention for young children with ASD (Project ImPACT; Improving Parents As Communication Partners).

Research Plan: The research plan will address four specific aims: (1) examine EI providers' current use of coaching when working with parents of young children with ASD; (2) identify barriers and facilitators to using parent coaching in Part C service systems; (3) partner with community stakeholders (EI agency leaders, providers, and parents) to develop a toolkit of implementation strategies to improve the use of parent coaching by EI providers; and (4) pilot test the feasibility, promise, and acceptability of the implementation toolkit with dyads of EI providers and parents of children with or at risk for ASD. The aims will be addressed through four corresponding phases. In Phase 1, the PI will conduct observations of intervention sessions to examine how EI providers coach parents of children with ASD. During Phase 2, the PI will use semi-structured interviews and validated questionnaires with EI providers, parents, and agency leaders identify barriers and facilitators to provider implementation of parent coaching. In Phase 3, the PI will partner with a community advisory board to iteratively develop a toolkit of implementation strategies that addresses identified barriers and supports to improve EI provider implementation of parent coaching. Finally, in Phase 4, the PI will pilot test the implementation strategy toolkit using a multiple-baseline single-case design to determine its feasibility and promise for improving EI providers' use of parent coaching, parents' use of the strategies taught in Project IMPACT, and children's communication outcomes. Observational data will be analyzed using a validated coding system. Interview data will be coded and mixed methods will be used to integrate findings with those from quantitative measures and observations. Visual analysis and effect size calculations will be used to analyze data from the pilot study.

Career Plan: Through a career development plan, the PI intends to (1) expand knowledge of coaching strategies for parents of young children; (2) gain expertise in mixed-methods research; (3) gain in-depth understanding of community-partnered participatory research and implementation science; and (4) develop competitive grant proposals. To accomplish these goals, the PI will engage in monthly meetings with mentors; courses; seminars; conferences; training institutes on research methods, statistical techniques, and implementation science; and grant-writing workshops.