Feasibility of Virtual Parent Coaching of Music Interventions for Young Autistic Children

Project: Research project

Project Details


Feasibility of Virtual Parent Coaching of Music Interventions for Young Autistic Children Feasibility of Virtual Parent Coaching of Music Interventions for Young Autistic Children The COVID-19 pandemic forced families to stay at home for long periods, creating stress, anxiety, and increased workloads for many parents, as they tried to homeschool their children, work from home, and keep their families safe. Some families of autistic children may have more anxiety and distress due to the changes in routine, isolation, and lack of dedicated services (APA, 2020; Campbell et al., 2009). Providing families with resources to parent effectively at home seems important in every circumstance (Degli Espinosa et al., 2020; Oono, Honey & McConachie, 2013; Zwaigenbaum et al., 2015). In current circumstances, it is a necessity. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the provision of telehealth services accelerated. Even after the pandemic subsides, the virtual modality will be a viable option to increase access for many groups, including rural and underserved populations (Cole et al., 2020). However, research on the efficacy and acceptability of virtual music therapy is very limited (i.e., Baker and Krout, 2009; Vaudreuil, 2020; Cole et al., 2020). Among other features, telehealth treatment includes involving parents as part of the process, given that parents or caregivers often mediate the use of technology for the child receiving services. For early intervention in particular, parental involvement is indispensable to support child outcomes. Parent coaching has proved effective not only to include parents in a session, but to share evidence-based strategies with parents (Elder et al., 2003; Magaa et al., 2020; Oono et al., 2013). In music therapy, parent coaching is an emerging practice, with limited research in the autistic community (Anonymous, 2020). However, previous work has identified benefits, such as generalization of skills, parent empowerment, increased satisfaction, and increased child social communication skills (Anonymous, 2020a; 2021; Williams et al., 2012; Yang, 2016). The current project expands previous work by formally investigating the feasibility of a virtual adaptation of parent coaching of music interventions for young autistic children. Through this study, we will acquire valuable knowledge regarding Funding Priority A (analysis of the efficacy or effectiveness of selected interventions in achieving predictable outcomes) by examining feasibility and limited efficacy of a virtual parent coaching of music interventions. We will also create new knowledge regarding Funding Priority F (studies that examine the application of technology to music therapy practice or research) by examining results of a telehealth model. This feasibility study has a mixed-methods design with quantitative measures of demand, retention, parental adherence to the intervention, parent satisfaction, parent learning, child outcomes, and coaching fidelity; and qualitative measures of parent perceptions of outcomes and experience. The PI, certified in the Early Start Denver Model, on which this study is based, and experienced in parent coaching, will train a clinician with experience with young autistic children. The clinician will then provide 8-week virtual parent coaching in individual (parent-child) sessions to ten participant families. Parents will fill out parent satisfaction scales and will engage in initial and exit interviews to share their perceptions of the intervention. Trained research assistants will code pre-post video recordings of parent-child interactions to assess parental learning and child outcomes. The project will expand 18 months to recruit participants and train the clinician (Jan Mar 2022), implement the program (Apr 2022 Mar 2023) and analyze the data (Apr Jun 2023). Prompt access to early intervention strategies improves outcomes and decreases the need of future services for children with disabilities (Cidav et al., 2017). This study would be the first to provide comprehensive data regarding the accessibility and pertinence of a virtual model of parent coaching.
Effective start/end date1/1/2210/31/23


  • American Music Therapy Association (AMTA): $19,995.00


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