I had the very special pleasure of talking to Dr. Peter Gerhardt, President & Chair of the Scientific Council of OAR (Organization for Autism Research), for an article that is still under consideration. In our conversation he mentioned OAR-funded research on Telemedicine. So, when this popped up in my e-mail box, I had to check it out.
“The two-year project will measure the effect of telemedicine support on parents’ ability to provide PRT to improve functional verbal communication in their children with ASD.” It compares parent treatment with and without telemedicine support after the same initial training program. If telemedicine support proves effective it may provide a cost-effective means of helping families provide effective learning environments for their autistic children that facilitate the development of readily recognized social communication skills. In many areas, cost and shortage of services result in long waiting lists and limited service options, therefore if this procedure proves effective it will increase access to timely treatment options.
As a side note: “PRT is an evidence-based model that uses both a developmental approach and the science of applied behavior analysis (ABA) procedures to target areas that underlie the core symptoms of autism, including impairments in social interaction, communications, and repetitive/ restrictive behaviors.” The value of the “evidence-based model” may seem questionable after reading Michelle’s post. However, OAR states: “Among the myriad interventions that claim some degree of effectiveness with individuals with autism, interventions based upon the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) have the most comprehensive and sophisticated research base by far.” That, admittedly, offers little reassurance in the face Michelle’s report.