Authors: Backman E, Asberg Johnels J, Thunberg G
Title: Parental perceptions of social life before and after attending a parent training program for children with complex communication needs: the ComAlong example
Source: Augmentative and Alternative Communication 2024 40(1): 46-56
Year: 2024
Research Design: Case Series

Parent training programs aimed at improving language outcomes for children with complex communication needs have predominantly been evaluated on child-centered outcomes and less often on the impact on social life or parental well-being. This study examined parent perceptions of social life before and after ComAlong, a group intervention providing parents with knowledge and training in responsive communication, environmental-milieu teaching strategies and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Parents (N = 467) completed questionnaires during the first and last sessions of ComAlong groups held in Sweden 2012 to 2018. Main outcome measure was change in the Social Life Scale from the Family Impact Questionnaire. Associations between this measure and demographic factors of parents and children were analyzed, along with reported change in parents' use of AAC. Pre-post comparisons revealed small significant positive changes in perceived impact of social life following intervention. The magnitude of the positive change was larger among parents of children with non-syndromic diagnoses and parents of children with autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit hyper activity disorder (ADHD). Differences in social life impact was not associated with parents' gender, language proficiency, age, or educational background. In conclusion, communication-focused parent training programs can have a positive impact on social family life and may thereby influence children's participation.

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