Effects of a parent training using telehealth: Equity and access to early intervention for rural families

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Early intervention, Autism, Parent training, Telehealth, Rural, Family-practices


Children living in geographically rural areas may have limited access to early, intensive evidence-based interventions suggesting children residing in these areas are less likely to experience positive outcomes than their urban-dwelling peers.  Telehealth offers an option to rural families seeking early intervention by using communication technologies where providers are able to consult and deliver services in real-time over geographical distances. To our knowledge, no other study has examined the implementation of P-ESDM in rural natural environments within the framework of the state’s early intervention program. Using a multiple baseline design across participants, the current study investigated the effects of the parent-Early Start Denver Model implemented within a rural northeastern state’s existing IDEA Part C early intervention program.  Parents demonstrated increased fidelity to intervention strategies and reported satisfaction with the program’s ease of implementation and observed child gains.  Statistically significant pre-to post- change in children’s ASD symptomatology were reported for the domains of communication, social reciprocity and repetitive and restricted behaviors.  Support for parent-mediated interventions, the importance of fidelity of implementation for sustainability of intervention strategies, and the need to explore telehealth as a viable service delivery option to improve developmental trajectories for toddlers with autism are discussed.


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How to Cite

Rooks-Ellis, D., Howorth, S. K. ., Megan Kunze, Susane Boulette, & Ella Sulinski. (2020). Effects of a parent training using telehealth: Equity and access to early intervention for rural families. Journal of Childhood, Education & Society, 1(2), 141–166. https://doi.org/10.37291/2717638X.20201242