Name: John-Joe Dawson-Squibb
Qualification: BA (Hons); MA (Clinical Psychology); PhD Scholar
Position: Clinical Psychologist at Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, UCT
Title: Can ASD specific parenting programmes work in South Africa?
Problem: Parents of children with ASD often have high levels of need, consequently parent support and intervention is considered part of best practice. Good evidence indicates parents feel supported, have higher levels of knowledge and confidence as well as decreased stress when attending ASD specific parenting programmes. The WHO has noted its ‘deep concern’ that children and families with ASD in need, especially in low resource contexts often have poor access to appropriate support and services. With the exception of a few programmes developed in private and NPO settings, none of which have been evaluated in any formal way, there are no evidence-based parent education training programmes currently available in South Africa.
Project: The main purpose of this study is to assess the feasibility and appropriateness of two training programmes in South Africa. The EarlyBird programme was designed in the U.K. in 1997 for parents of children newly diagnosed with ASD and has now extended to 14 countries internationally, reaching well over 20000 families. Autism Cares, developed by local NPO, Autism Western Cape, is a psychoeducational programme for both parents of children with ASD and professionals and its impact not previously been formally evaluated.
A comparison of the programmes using an evaluation framework will assess their relative stages of development. It will also explore what changes or adaptations might be required. The ultimate purpose is to identify or adapt a suitable programme for scale-up in low-middle income environments.