Using Hybrid Telepractice for Supporting Parents of Children with ASD during the COVID-19 Lockdown: A Feasibility Study in Iran
1.2. Supporting Families in Iran
1.3. Country Profile
1.4. Developing a Hybrid Telepractice for Families
- Is telepractice a feasible approach for providing services to family caregivers and children with ASD in a less affluent country such as Iran?
- What are the factors that contribute to caregivers’ positive attitudes regarding the telepractice services provided to them and their children with ASD, in the absence of in-person daycare center services?
- Is it possible to increase the effectiveness of telepractice services for caregivers of children with ASD?
2.1. Setting up the Telepractice Service
- Suitable resource materials from Iran—written and visual—were identified to act as a guide for center staff, as well as for sharing with caregivers as appropriate.
- Each participating center nominated a key person as the main coordinator of the center’s telepractice. In most instances, this was a person with the required qualification to supervise the daycare center’s daily services. During the lockdown, other center staff were involved with caregivers and children on a scheduled daily basis for routine contact, but the key person’s responsibility was the coordination, supervision, and monitoring of the prepared online telepractice program.
- An online group was created for the course supervisor and daycare center staff for them to develop procedures relating to freeing up time from other clinical work; making different reading materials accessible for parents, the provision of high-quality supervision and training, establishing peer-learning working groups and planning periodic evaluation of the program.
- Identifying and creating video-based parental training materials for use alongside written materials. Videos are reported to be more effective .
- Caregivers needed to have smartphones or similar devices with home internet access and the freeware program, WhatsApp version 4.0.0 (Mountain View, California, 2009), with the free calling feature. This app was also used for documents and link sharing, online video calls, observing the home session, and coaching the parent.
2.1.1. The Main Aims of the Telepractice Service
- To devise individual learning plans for a child with ASD in conjunction with caregivers to use at home.
- To boost the confidence of caregivers in managing their child with ASD at home.
- To answer caregivers’ questions through the provision of accurate personalized information.
- To provide updated information relating to ASD.
2.1.2. Implementing the Telepractice Service
2.1.3. Evaluating Telepractice
- What is the most important advantage of the online training course?
- What is the most obvious shortcoming of the online training course?
- If you have to continue using online courses for a long time, what are your recommendations for improvement of the quality of the course?
- Which part of the information was most useful for you?
- Which part was less useful for you?
- Do you have any further comments about the course?
2.3. Activity Records
3.1. Qualitative Findings
3.2. Quantitative Findings
Conflicts of Interest
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|Gender||Male 5 (17%)|
|Female 25 (83%)|
|Age||Mean (37.10) SD (6.32)|
|(Min 25 Max 55,)|
|Education||Undergraduate 5 (17%)|
|Graduate 22 (73%)|
|Postgraduate 3 (10%)|
|Profession||Psychologist 19 (63%)|
|Occupational Therapist 5 (18%)|
|Speech and Language Therapist 2 (7%)|
|Educational Science 3 (10%)|
|General Health 1 (3%)|
|Experience with ASD in years||Mean (8.26) SD (3.23)|
|(Min 1, Max 15)|
|Variable||Completed Course Group||Drop Out Group|
|N = 336||N = 81|
|Relationship with the child with ASD||Mother: 279 (83%)||Mother: 57 (70%)|
|Father: 17 (5%)||Father: 12 (15%)|
|Sibling: 9 (3%)||Sibling: 4 (5%)|
|Grandparent: 1 (0.3%)||Grandparent: (−%)|
|Both Parents: 30 (9%)||Both Parents: 8(10%)|
|Caregivers age||Mean (35.79) SD (6.51)||Mean (37.88) SD (6.87)|
|(Max 70, Min 18)||(Max 56, Min 22)|
|Caregivers education in years||Under-university education: 210 (62.5%)||Under-university education: 57 (70%)|
|University Education: 126 (37.7%)||University Education: 24 (30%)|
|Caregivers Profession||Housewife: 216 (64%)||Housewife: 54 (67%)|
|Public work: 60 (18%)||Public work: 14 (17%)|
|Technician: 26 (8%)||Technician: 6 (7%)|
|Education: 16 (5%)||Education: 3 (4%)|
|Medical and Health: 14 (4%)||Medical and Health: 4 (5%)|
|Unemployed: 4 (1%)||Unemployed: (−%)|
|Having assistance with caregiving from the family members||Yes: 192 (57%)||Yes: 43 (53%)|
|No: 144 (43%)||No: 38(47%)|
|Variable||Completed Course Group||Drop Out Group|
|N = 336||N = 81|
|Children’s Age||Mean (8.06) SD (2.78)||Mean (10.81) SD (2.31)|
|(Max 14, Min 3)||(Max 14, Min 3)|
|Children’s Gender||Boys 261 (78%), Girls 75 (22%)||Boys 60 (74%), Girls 21 (26%)|
|Birth Order||First born: 203 (60%)||First born: 47 (58%)|
|Second born: 102 (30%)||Second born: 29 (38%)|
|3rd and above born: 31 (10%)||3rd and above born: 5 (4%)|
|Children’s diagnosis||ASD: 158 (55.5%)||ASD: 19 (23.5%)|
|Dual Diagnosis (diagnosis of ASD and other impairments such as Attention Deficit and Hyper Activity (ADHD), Cerebral Palsy (CP), or Intellectual Disability ID): 151 (45%)||Dual Diagnosis: 62 (76.5%)|
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Samadi, S.A.; Bakhshalizadeh-Moradi, S.; Khandani, F.; Foladgar, M.; Poursaid-Mohammad, M.; McConkey, R. Using Hybrid Telepractice for Supporting Parents of Children with ASD during the COVID-19 Lockdown: A Feasibility Study in Iran. Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 892. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10110892
Samadi SA, Bakhshalizadeh-Moradi S, Khandani F, Foladgar M, Poursaid-Mohammad M, McConkey R. Using Hybrid Telepractice for Supporting Parents of Children with ASD during the COVID-19 Lockdown: A Feasibility Study in Iran. Brain Sciences. 2020; 10(11):892. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10110892Chicago/Turabian Style
Samadi, Sayyed Ali, Shahnaz Bakhshalizadeh-Moradi, Fatemeh Khandani, Mehdi Foladgar, Maryam Poursaid-Mohammad, and Roy McConkey. 2020. "Using Hybrid Telepractice for Supporting Parents of Children with ASD during the COVID-19 Lockdown: A Feasibility Study in Iran" Brain Sciences 10, no. 11: 892. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10110892