Miércoles, 14 Abril 2021 09:41

A Methodology is Developed to Evaluate Early Attention in Autism Spectrum Disorders

The system focuses on measuring the effects of programs on families, whose role has proven to be crucial in the progress and quality of life of patients with autism

Cases of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) account for approximately one in every 100 births, according to data from the international association Autism Europe. Currently, Child Development and Early Care Centers are the agencies charged with responding to the needs of this population up to age 6. These entities also direct their programs at families, whose role is critical for the patients' progress.

Developing a system to evaluate the quality of early care in parents of children with ASD was the objective of a new study in which the Universities of Cordoba (UCO) and Jaen (UJA) jointly participated. Professionals' practices with parents influence learning processes, and can improve children's development", explained David Sánchez, one of the researchers at the UCO's Department of Psychology who, together with Auxiliadora Robles-Bello (UJA), worked on the study.

20210413 TEA2The research team validated a methodology called the Family-Centered Practice Scale, an approach that assesses parents' perceptions of the care they receive from health personnel, and that has now been adapted to the parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The scale was drawn up based on interviews with professionals from Early Childhood Care Centers in various regions of Spain, and surveys carried out with some 500 families. Specifically, it assesses a series of variables related to the improvement of therapeutic care, the involvement of parents in the planning process, and the empathy of the specialized personnel in care programs.

Variability as a function of gender

The results, the research team points out, "boast a reliability of over 90%", although there are some gender-based differences. According to the questionnaires administered, "fathers and mothers perceive family-centered practices differently," explained researcher Auxiliadora Robles-Bello. "Mothers tend to be more participatory in early care processes, and know the professionals better, so different evaluation scales should be considered for mothers and fathers," she stressed.
In any case, this new method could help evaluate the care received by families and, thus, improve the quality of life of children with ASD.


María Auxiliadora, Robles-Bello, & Sánchez-Teruel, David. (2021). Psychometric properties of the Spanish version of the Family-Centered Practice Scale for use with families with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Children and Youth Services Review. 121. 105863. 10.1016 / j.childyouth.2020.105863.

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