ACT's Archived News

News Release: Parent Coaching Intervention Research Project Announced

Posted December 7, 2015






News Release – December 7, 2015

ACT welcomes Parent Coaching Intervention Research Project

ACT – Autism Community Training (ACT) is delighted to be chairing the Parent Coaching Steering Committee that will put in place an innovative research project targeting the needs of B.C. families who suspect that their very young child has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  The $3.1 million dollar project has the potential to answer many research questions about the value of parent coaching in changing the developmental path of children who develop autism. It is being funded by the Government of British Columbia and is the only project of its kind in Canada targeting children under three years of age focusing on researching parent coaching. For the Government of B.C.’s news release see: Autism research project to help B.C. parents of young children.

“Each year ACT receives dozens of calls from families who are very worried about their toddler’s development.  Often it is difficult to make a definitive diagnosis for a child under two, but there is no reason not to engage parents regardless”, explains Deborah Pugh, ACT’s Executive Director, adding, “The international research into parent coaching is very robust, it points the way to empowering parents with techniques that they can use to engage their children before their communication and behavior deteriorate. These techniques are play-based and will help parents concerned about their child’s development to provide them with an enriched home environment with the support of highly trained professionals, whether or not the child turns out to have autism or another developmental challenge.”

ACT welcomes the opportunity to partner in this project with the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and with the Pacific Autism Family Centre, as well as the Ministry of Children and Family Development.   One of ACT’s interests will be to see whether this research can help pinpoint ways of supporting families from chronically under-served groups within the autism community, including aboriginal families, recent immigrants, refugees and those living in rural and remote communities.

“Autism intervention in B.C. does a good job of supporting mainstream families”, explains Deborah Pugh, “this project will help us identify how we can do a better job of identifying and supporting marginalized families when their children are as young as possible, so that we can show the value of parent coaching across cultural and geographical environments.”

ACT looks forward to working with the many professionals and agencies across B.C. who will welcome the opportunity to support parent coaching. Collaboration with community health nurses and speech-language pathologists based in public health units, organizations such as the Infant Development Program (IDP) and Aboriginal IDP, professionals who specialize in autism, as well as organizations supporting immigrants, all will be key to reaching vulnerable families and their children.


Media Contact: Deborah Pugh, Executive Director, ACT – Autism Community Training

phone: 604-205-5467 or [email protected]