Parenting Stress Reduces the Effectiveness of Early Teaching Interventions for Autistic Spectrum Disorders

  • Lisa A. Osborne
  • Louise McHugh
  • Jo Saunders
  • Phil ReedEmail author
Original Paper


This community-based study examined the influence of early teaching interventions on children diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorders, and the dynamics between the time intensity of the interventions and parenting stress, on child outcomes. Intellectual, educational, and adaptive behavior and social functioning were all measured. Sixty-five children were divided into four groups, based on the levels of time intensity of their intervention, and on their parents’ stress levels. There were gains in intellectual, educational, and adaptive behavioral and social skills, and there was a positive relationship between the time intensity of the early teaching interventions and child outcome gains. More importantly, however, high levels of parenting stress counteracted the effectiveness of the early teaching interventions.


Parenting stress Early teaching interventions Intellectual functioning Educational functioning Adaptive behavioral functioning ASD 



We would like to acknowledge the kind participation of the children and their parents in this research, and we thank them very much for their time. Thanks are due to the Local Education Authorities who participated. We would also like to thank Mark Corness for his work in assessing the children. This research was funded by a grant from the South East Regional Special Educational Needs Partnership (SERSEN) to the last author. Some of these data were first presented at the Second Conference for the European Association for Behaviour Analysis (EABA) in Gdansk 2005.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa A. Osborne
    • 1
  • Louise McHugh
    • 1
  • Jo Saunders
    • 1
  • Phil Reed
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PsychologySwansea UniversitySwanseaUK

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