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2017 TASH Conference has ended

Each year, the TASH Conference brings together a diverse community of stakeholders who gain information, learn about resources, and connect with others across the country to strengthen the disability field. This year’s conference theme, “Still We Rise for Equity, Opportunity, and Inclusion,” shows the resilience of individuals with disabilities and their families across the lifespan. Conference attendees will celebrate their passion for disability rights, civil rights, and human rights while exploring inclusive communities, schools, and workplaces that support people with disabilities, including those with complex support needs. Return to TASH website.


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Thursday, December 14 • 4:30pm - 6:30pm
Involving Parents and Siblings: A Family Systems Approach to Increasing Communication Skills LIMITED

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Limited Capacity seats available

One common challenge for many families of children with disabilities is communication. In many cases the children may have complex communication needs (CCN), which result in significant delays in communication (APA, 2013; National Research Council, 2001). These communicative deficits may lead to impaired social functioning and interaction, and limited verbal skills for the child (Raghavendra, Virgo, Olsson, Connell, & Lane, 2011). Communication challenges may also cause family members, especially parents and siblings, to feel disconnected from the child with CCN. Furthermore, a lack of ability to effectively communicate, and understand communication, can add additional stress family members already feel when raising a child with a disability (Bailey, Parette, Stoner, Angell, & Carroll, 2006; van Ijzendoorn et al., 2007; Marshall & Goldbart, 2008). Family member support, particularly parents and siblings, is especially crucial in helping a child develop effective communication skills (Huttenlocher, Waterfall, Vasilyeva, Vevea, & Hedges, 2010; Siller & Sigman, 2002). This conference presentation will aim to summarize the findings of four research projects in which two family-centered strategies were used to increase the communication of a child with a disability. The first strategy is the POWR parent strategy, focused on helping parents learn how to increase their child's communication skills while playing or doing a fun activity. This strategy was examined across two multiple probe single-subject design studies, one with parents of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and another with parents of children with CCN and developmental disabilities. The second strategy is an adaptation of the POWR strategy created for siblings of a child with a disability. This strategy is titled Plan, Talk, Wait, Respond. This strategy was examine across two studies: one using a multiple probe single-subject design with siblings of a child with CCN, and a case study with increased emphasis on certain aspects of the strategy. In both strategies the family members are taught four main steps: 1) Plan a fun activity that fits the child's interested and culture ; 2) Offer opportunities for communication/talk with the child; 3) Wait for the child's response; and 4) Respond to the child each time they communicate to reward the social interaction. Multiple probe single-subject designs were used to study the impact and effectiveness of the trainings with both parents and siblings across families with young children with different disabilities and CCN. Study participants represented a diverse sample of families. Findings from the studies indicate that the training for both parents and siblings positively impacted child communication behaviors during play activities. General results from the studies will be presented. In addition to a summary of the results, implications for training multiple members of the child's household will be discussed. The usefulness and potential benefits of training multiple communication partners in a more naturalistic setting will be presented. It is important to help children with disabilities and CCN learn the necessary skills to communicate in the world around them. Communication is a social issue, and can have lasting effects. Parents and siblings are the individuals who are in the best position to help these children, but are often under-utilized. These are the individuals who are around the child every day, and have the most interactions and communications with them. Educating and coaching family members on how to implement the evidence-based POWR and Plan, Talk, Wait, Respond communication strategies can potentially have very long and lasting impacts on children with communication delays. Increasing the child's communication, and teaching those most connected to them to do so, is best-practice and will increase their ability to function in society as they continue to age.


Thursday December 14, 2017 4:30pm - 6:30pm
Imperial Ballroom, Salon A 265 Peachtree Center Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30303

Attendees (6)