It is critically important to inform our government about recent rigorous research when it comes to public policy in order to advocate convincingly for parent choice. Recently, research on Parent Implemented Models (PIM) that use a Developmental, Relationship-Based approach (PIM DRB) (‘Social Pragmatic‘ interventions) has firmly established that PIM DRB programs are evidence-based and should be offered as an early intervention option for young children (14 months to 6 years of age) diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Richard Solomon, M.D. has written a summary (2018) of recent reviews: Wong et al. (2014), Smith & Iadarola (2015), Mercer (2015), and most recently Binns & Oram Cardy (2019) reviewed Developmental Social Pragmatic methodologies. It is clear that thousands of young children are waiting for intensive early intervention services Mandell et al. (2016) when the only option available in a community is behavioural approaches like Applied Behavioural Analysis which simply cannot meet the need.
Parent coaching models offer a practical solution to wait lists at 1/10th the cost of therapist delivered models and are smart public policy on two counts: cost and easier dissemination on a large scale. The argument also needs to be made that Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is defined primarily as an “impairment of social abilities” in the DSM 5, used for diagnosing ASD. The primary focus and research outcomes of PIM DRB are directed at social interaction. The research shows that parents can be coached to interact in an effective way with their children who have ASD and, by doing do, consistently and significantly help their children’s social abilities.
PIM DRB models of autism early intervention that are evidence-based, easy to disseminate, cost effective, and improve social interaction and relationships should be made widely available to all families in the province.