Authors: Stockwell K, Alabdulqader E, Jackson D, Basu A, Olivier P, Pennington L
Title: Feasibility of parent communication training with remote coaching using smartphone apps
Source: International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders 2019 54(2): 265-280
Year: 2019
Research Design: Single Case Design

Background: Communication training for parents of young children with neurodisability is often delivered in groups and includes video coaching. Group teaching is problematic when there is wide variation in the characteristics and needs amongst participants. Aims: To assess the potential feasibility and acceptability of delivering one-to-one parent training supported by remote coaching using smartphone apps and of conducting further trials of the intervention. Methods & Procedures: We aimed to recruit eight children aged 12–48 months with motor disorders and communication difficulties and to provide families with individual parent training in six weekly home visits supplemented by remote coaching via smartphone apps. For outcome measurement, parents recorded their interaction with their child thrice weekly during baseline (3 weeks), intervention, post-intervention (3 weeks) and follow-up (1 week). Measures comprised parent responsiveness and counts of children's communication and vocalization. Research design feasibility was measured through rates of recruitment, attrition, outcome measure completion and agreement between raters on outcome measurement. Intervention feasibility was assessed through the proportion of therapy sessions received, the number of videos and text messages shared using the apps in remote coaching, and message content. Parents were interviewed about the acceptability of the intervention and trial design. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Outcomes & Results: Nine children were recruited over 16 weeks. All fitted the inclusion criteria. Four families withdrew from the study. Five families completed the intervention. No family submitted the target number of video recordings for outcome measurement. Interrater agreement was moderate for child communication (K = 0.46) and vocalization (K = 0.60) and high for The Responsive Augmentative and Alternative Communication Style scale (RAACS) (r s = 0.96). Parents who completed the intervention reported positive experiences of the programme and remote coaching via the apps. Therapist messages via the app contained comments on parent and child behaviour and requests for parental reflection/action; parental messages contained reflections on children's communication. Conclusions & Implications: The intervention and study design demanded high levels of parental involvement and was not suitable for all families. Recording shorter periods of interaction via mobile phones or using alternative methods of data collection may increase feasibility of outcome measurement.

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