The Therapist’s Perspective of Parental Involvement in Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Alisa Ai Ling Choo, Ching Sin Siau, Mimi Fitriana, Clarisse Roswini Kalaman, Sook Huey Lee


ABA interventions have been widely known as the most effective evidence-based interventions for children with ASD. Parents has been reported as a critical component that impacts ABA treatment outcome in the long-term. However, many parents still do not partake in ABA treatment as recommended or end up dropping out before behavioral issues are resolved. This study aims to understand ABA therapist’ perception on parental involvement, perceived level of involvement, and factors leading to involvement. Five ABA therapist in Malaysia were recruited for the purpose of this study. Semi-structure interview method was used, and thematic analysis was utilized to code the data. The themes identified for perceived parental involvement includes active interaction between parents and therapist, engagement with the ASD child, behavioural observation of the ASD child, commitment to attend ABA parent training, compliance with the ABA teaching at home, and adjustment of parental behaviours that interferes with therapy. Differing perceptions on the level of parental involvement were found. Parental stress level, involvement from fathers, parents’ career, ASD severity level, parents’ efficacy and accessibility to therapist are factors perceived to be related to parental involvement. A greater focus on how to improve parental involvement could be beneficial for the therapist, parents, and the child him/herself. 

Intervensi ABA telah dikenal pasti sebagai intervensi berasaskan bukti yang paling berkesan untuk kanak-kanak dengan ASD. Ibu bapa telah dilaporkan sebagai komponen kritikal yang mempengaruhi hasil rawatan ABA dalam jangka masa panjang. Walau bagaimanapun, ramai ibu bapa masih tidak mengambil bahagian dalam rawatan ABA seperti yang disyorkan, ataupun mereka berhenti mendapatkan rawatan sebelum masalah tingkah laku diselesaikan. Kajian ini bertujuan untuk memahami persepsi ahli terapi ABA mengenai penglibatan ibu bapa, persepsi tahap penglibatan, dan faktor-faktor yang mempengaruhi penglibatan ibu bapa dalam rawatan anak mereka. Lima ahli terapi ABA di Malaysia direkrut untuk tujuan kajian ini. Kaedah temu ramah separa struktur digunakan, dan analisis tematik digunakan untuk mengkod data. Tema yang dikenal pasti untuk penglibatan ibu bapa merangkumi interaksi aktif antara ibu bapa dan ahli terapi, penglibatan dengan anak ASD, pemerhatian tingkah laku anak ASD, komitmen untuk mengikuti latihan ibu bapa ABA, pematuhan dengan pengajaran ABA di rumah, dan penyesuaian tingkah laku ibu bapa yang mengganggu terapi. Terdapat perbezaan persepsi mengenai tahap penglibatan ibu bapa. Tahap tekanan ibu bapa, penglibatan bapa, kerjaya ibu bapa, tahap keterukan ASD, keberkesanan ibu bapa dan akses kepada ahli terapi adalah factor-faktor yang dianggap berkaitan dengan penglibatan ibu bapa. Tumpuan yang lebih besar perlu diberikan untuk meningkatkan penglibatan ibu bapa boleh bermanfaat bagi ahli terapi, ibu bapa, dan anak-anaknya.

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