Associate 2015-16

Hedda Meadan-Kaplansky

Special Education

Meadan imageCapitalizing on Internet Technology to Support Families with Young children with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities

Professor Meadan-Kaplansky and her research team have been developing and piloting an Internet-based intervention program named Parent-Implemented Communication Strategies (i-PiCS). The goal of this intervention is to teach and coach parents of young children with disabilities to implement evidence-based strategies to improve the social-communication skills of their young nonverbal children with autism and other developmental disabilities.

The novelty of this intervention program is reflected in three areas: the population targeted, the primary goal pursued, and the framework that has guided the development of training and coaching. The target population includes underserved children (i.e., young nonverbal children with autism and other developmental disabilities) and underserved and hard-to-reach families (i.e., low income families living in rural or remote areas). The primary goal focuses on overcoming the persistent barriers that parents of young children with disabilities encounter when attempting to access treatment and receive services in their homes. These barriers include reduced frequency and intensity of treatment due to the cost and time required to travel to homes. To place this intervention program in a larger context, Professor Meadan-Kaplansky’s team has developed a training and coaching framework replete with a decision tree to guide researchers and service providers in developing an effective training and coaching model. A considerable amount of data will be collected by the 2015-16 academic year. During her Center appointment, Professor Meadan-Kaplansky will analyze this data, generate manuscripts to disseminate the findings, and revise the intervention program before implementing it with a larger group of families.