Using a Hybrid Telehealth and Adaptive Aquatics Father Coaching Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Pilot Study

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Parent coaching interventions have been shown to be effective for increasing parent responsiveness and improving communication skills for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, few interventions have involved fathers. Challenges to father involvement include scheduling limitations, as well as evidence that strategies and activities shown to be effective with mothers may not generalise to fathers. Fathers may benefit from interventions that target strategies, which align with father-child communication and interaction styles. To mitigate barriers to father involvement, this study investigated the effects of a 12-week hybrid intervention program that combined telehealth coaching and in-person father–child aquatics sessions, on a father’s use of responsive communication and play strategies and child communication skills. A single subject, multiple baselines across behaviours experiment was conducted with one dyad (i.e. father, 5-year, 6-monthold child with ASD). Results showed that the participating father was able to quickly learn to use two of the three, targeted responsive strategies (i.e. follow-in comments, followin directives) within the context of parent–child aquatic play. The participating child showed small increases in use of spontaneous single words. Findings of this single subject study have important potential clinical implications for adapting ASD parent coaching programs to more effectively involve fathers.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

International Journal of Disability, Development and Education