Strong Kids

Study shows that parent training leads to dramatic gains for children with autism

Apr. 24, 2015



Tantrums, aggression, self-injury and other serious behavior problems are common in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In the largest-ever clinical trial for autism, a multi-site study that included researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center showed that a parent training program can help reduce these behaviors. 

Results of the study, published in the April 21 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that parent training decreased serious behavior problems by 47.7 percent. 

The training program taught parents to identify environmental events that might contribute to behavior problems and presented strategies for preventing these problems. It also emphasized positive reinforcement for appropriate behavior and withholding reinforcement for inappropriate behavior. 

Tristram Smith, Ph.D., a professor of Pediatrics at URMC who provides clinical services to children with ASD at UR Medicine's Golisano Children's Hospital, was a lead investigator on the study. 

To learn more about autism services provided at Golisano Children's Hospital, and how you can support research like this, visit our Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Pediatrics site. You can make a gift to the autism program, a current priority program, here