Autism Partnership Foundation – Parent Education and Support Program: Improving behavioral skills in children with autism
Most children with ASD will display challenging behavior due to autism deficits in their social, communication and adaptive behavior. Such problem behaviours are major barriers to effective social and educational development of a child, and can also lead to difficulties fitting in the mainstream educational framework.
EOC survey in 2012 indicated that 30-70% of principals, teachers, professionals considered that ASD students cannot concentrate on learning in class / disturb other classmates’ learning / possess negative self-concept.
The behavioural problems impact not only on the child, but also on parents. These parents are greatly affected because raising a child with ASD causing them a great deal of parenting stress and psychological distress. Research indicates that over 85.7% of parents with autistic children scored above clinical cut-off point in stress scoring instrument (cut-off point means that person should seek clinical assistance for stress).
Another major source of stress to the parents of ASD children is the financial burden. Many parents experience financial hardship, especially low-income families due to the high cost of ASD-specific therapy. According to a study in US, it can cost over US$2 million to take care of a person with autism over his or her lifetime. In Hong Kong, a study conducted in September 2014 found that there were at least 20,000 children with special education needs coming from low-income families. Many of these families need to spend HK$5,000, equivalent to 1/3 of their household income, on the treatment cost per month. 40% of these families claim that it costs 5 times more than they can afford.
Another challenge faced by these parents is that navigating the care and schooling options is extremely difficult. Access to correct information as well as effective ASD treatments is also extremely limited in many cases. Indeed, some of the best intervention treatments easily found in other parts of the world have yet to become widely available here in Hong Kong.
To address the above issues, APF will launch a free community-based training and supporting program for the parents with primary school aged children with ASD. This program will adopt the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) approach (one of the best intervention treatments for ASD) to enable the best possible outcome. Through our program, parents will receive hands-on practical skills to deal with challenging autistic behavior, and able to incorporate the intervention techniques into the daily routines of their children for therapy interventions at home.
With successful handling of the problem behaviors it will reduce parenting stress and psychological distress and will further increase the effectiveness of interventions designed to enhance child development. Additionally, the financial burden of these parents, especially underprivileged parents, will be relieved in the long run.
Parent Education and Support Program: Improving behavioral skills in children with autism is a 2-year program and target to be launched in Q2 2016. This program contains 5 main services targeting parents with primary school aged children with ASD:
Service 1: Basic Information Workshop
Service 2: Consultation Session
Service 3: Parent Helpline
Service 4: Parent Support Group
Service 5: Practical Workshop
To find out more about the Autism Partnership Foundation and their various programs, click here.