The Incredible Years® Blog


Leave a comment

The impact of the IY® Autism program on parent feelings of self-efficacy: New research

Incredible Years® Autism Parent Group Leader Victoria Muschietti-Piana recently conducted research into the impact of the IY Autism program on parent perceptions of self-efficacy as part of her graduate studies at Middlesex in London. Her research is a valuable addition to our knowledge about how the program works for families. She has shared a summary of her findings with us.

CHANGES IN PARENTAL SELF-EFFICACY FOLLOWING “AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER AND LANGUAGE DELAY INCREDIBLE YEARS” PARENTING PROGRAMME

By Victoria Muschietti-Piana

Victoria Muschietti-Piana

As a Clinical Psychologist training and working in Argentina and the UK for the past 18 years, I am interested in understanding how local authorities can support parents to develop enhanced self-efficacy.  I sought, in particular, to marry my knowledge of Neurodevelopmental disorders to this topic as part of my Masters in Autism and related conditions. The following summary focuses on research conducted in Merton, a Borough in London, during 2019.  The full dissertation can be accessed here.

I trained with Peter Loft in the UK in Incredible Years® Autism Spectrum and Language Delays programme and have spent the past four years delivering early help interventions using Positive Intervention Parenting Training (PIPT). I became interested in applying these techniques to Neurodevelopmental children and their families to observe impacts on self-efficacy. Based on the outcomes of my research I am now encouraging service provision expansion across London to provide better outcomes. 

The Incredible Years® Autism and Language Delays programme (IY® ASLD) was created to promote parenting competence and child development by offering strategies to address social skills, communication and language, emotion regulation, and school readiness in children. The IY® ASLD programme constitutes an adaptation of the IY® programme in 2015 to be used with parents of children on the Autism Spectrum and for those who had language delay difficulties (Dababnah et al., 2019). The programme is specifically designed for parents of children between the ages of 3 and 6. The programme is divided into 8 topics: (1) child directed narrated play; (2) pre academic and persistent coaching; (3) social coaching; (4) emotional coaching; (5) developing imagination through pretend play; (6) children self-regulation skills; (7) using praise and rewards to motivate children; and (8) effective limit setting and behaviour management (Hutchings et al., 2016). The programme uses a collaborative approach, encouraging parents to learn from each other. The intervention is delivered by a trained practitioner who also receives supervision from an accredited supervisor in IY®ASLD (Webster-Stratton, 2015).

Why was I interested in doing this study?

This research assessed if the IY® ASLD programme improves parental self-efficacy. Though parental self-efficacy has been used as an outcome measure in some empirical studies of intervention programmes, there are no studies – neither in the IY® ASLD pilot studies, nor in feasibility studies – where specific measures to identify changes in parenting self-efficacy have been used. would therefore be highly beneficial to test the impact on specific variables Pre and Post parenting interventions.

Methods: This study was part of a natural experiment in one group of participants of the IY® ASLD programme and utilised data from Pre and Post questionnaire completion. This questionnaire consisted of a Tool to measure Parenting Self-Efficacy, the TOPSE scale (Kendall and Bloomfield, 2005). This measure is a 48-item tool with 8 scales. Each scale has 6 statements and represents a different dimension of parenting or ‘domains’ such as: emotion and affection, play and enjoyment, empathy and understanding, control, discipline and boundaries, pressures, self-acceptance, learning and knowledge (Fig. 1). Qualitative information about the participant’s feedback was also obtained from the TOPSE scale comments section (Fig. 2).

Participants were recruited from a Children’s Centre in London where the intervention was being delivered by trained staff who had previous experience delivering other Incredible Years® programmes. Eleven families took part in the study (5 White British, 3 Indian, 1 Pakistani, 1 Black African and 1 white other). The ages of the children, whose parents received the intervention, ranged from 2.5 to 4 years old.

Results: An overall significant improvement in parental self-efficacy Post IY® ASLD parenting programme (Fig. 1a) was identified. Results showed significant improvement in the ‘play and enjoyment’ and ‘learning and knowledge’ domains (Fig. 1b). This can be attributed to the fact that parents have found new ways of playing and enjoying time with their children. Furthermore, the study has highlighted that the programme has taught new and innovative ways of playing with a child, and aiming to increase eye contact, which has shown an upturn in the learning domain. Feedback after the course was entirely positive, and indicative of the benefits of the IY® ASLD programme for improving parenting skills.

Fig. 1. Mean scores for total TOPSE scale (a) and for all domains (b) at Pre (white columns) and Post (green columns) IY® ASLD parenting programme. Columns indicate mean values and vertical bars indicate standard error of the mean. *= indicate significant differences between ‘pre’ and ‘post’ parental self-efficacy programme within each domain’s mean scoring value (paired-sample t test p < .05).

At the end of the programme, there were complementary comments from the participants and they were grouped in six themes based on the main key words that were identified. The frequency of each theme was expressed in percentage (as shown in parenthesis in each Theme in Fig. 2) and calculated from the ratio of the number of participants commenting on each theme and the number of participants that completed the comments section at the end of the course.

‘Building confidence as a parent (Theme 1)’ was the most frequent theme amongst the participants’ comments, as 90% agreed that the course was very helpful to build more confidence as a parent of a child with ASD. This theme was the most frequent aspect that was associated with the majority of the other themes (Fig. 2). A sense of confidence resulted from ‘networking’ (Theme 3), that can be inferred from comments like “sharing ideas with the parents…” or “listening to other parents made me feel confident”. Confidence in self-parenting can be found as a result of the ability to develop new strategies (Theme 2); and/or having tools to calm/regulate the child (Theme 5); and/or being involved in a contention group providing support (Theme 4). During the programme parents learnt how to formulate positive statements about themselves and of each other. This was partly supported by programme facilitators whose role is to encourage parents to set up tangible rewards for their achieved weekly goals. This approach promotes a sense of parenting competence. Parents are encouraged to develop a positive self-talk, which will have an impact on their parental self-efficacy (Webster-Stratton, 2015).

Fig. 2. Thematic map summarising the six main themes identified from participant’s feedback at Post IY® ASLD programme.

Conclusion: The study demonstrated that the IY® ASLD is a cost-effective programme that can be implemented to support families with children with social communication difficulties and/or language delay. Parents with children with neurodevelopmental disorders benefitted from being part of a group and sharing their experiences together. Parents practiced new skills such as: social coaching, regulating their child’s emotions and encouraging language development through role-plays during sessions. In the present study, all these new strategies may have contributed to the overall increase in parental self-efficacy.

Despite the strong evidence that early intervention has positive outcomes in the relationship between parent and child with ASD, limited support is provided in the UK to parents of children with neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly those with autism. In this context, making use of cost-effective parenting programmes like the IY® ASLD becomes vital to bridge that gap.

Relevance to clinical practice: Delivering the IY® ASLD programme to families whose children have been diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental disorder, or are still waiting to be assessed, will be of benefit to clinical practice at Children Centres or at other early intervention services.

Victoria works as a Clinical Psychologist in London and has diplomas in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Systemic Therapy.  She has a Certificate in Counselling Children using Art.  Victoria currently conducts autism assessments and is trained in ADOS and ADI-R.  

Cheers to Victoria! Read Victoria’s Dissertation Here!

Incredible Years® Program training is now online! If you would like to receive training to deliver the Incredible Years® Autism program, or any of our other programs, please visit www.incredibleyears.com/workshop-info/training-workshop-schedule/


Leave a comment

Frequently Asked Questions about Online Delivery of IY Programs

We are excited to hear about agencies that are working with families remotely – either to check in with individual sessions or to continue their on-going groups with online tele-sessions. We know that this is a big transition. Check out our FAQs for information on how to deliver online sessions the Incredible Years way.

I need to convert my in-person groups to on-line. Where do I start?

Webinars: We have developed a webinar/in-service to help support agencies that are providing IY in a video tele-session format (either individually or in groups).

This webinar/in-service with IY program developer Dr. Carolyn Webster-Stratton covers how to assess whether a family is a candidate for an individual or group based on-line IY program based on their response to the Covid-19 pandemic, family needs, goals, and children’s responses.  The webinar reviews how to help families prepare for these video tele-sessions. The group leaders will learn the format for delivering the program including how to use the IY methods in a video tele-session, IY principles of video-based discussions, role play practices, number and length of sessions, and engage parents in experiential learning. Pertinent topics are discussed related to coping with social distancing for the parents themselves as well as their children as well as stress management. This webinar also allows time for questions, discussion and problem solving related to the specific population being address with the webinar participants. Please contact Jamila Reid at jamilar@incredibleyears.com for more info.

Consultation: Hourly consultation with an IY accredited trainer is available for small groups of leaders (2-6 leaders) who would like support in leading groups on-line.  It is helpful when possible to provide the trainer with segments of videos of online program delivery, provided parent and teacher consent has been provided. Please contact Jamila Reid at jamilar@incredibleyears.com for more info.

Self-study resources: See these two links for detailed tips on leading parent and child groups on-line.

 Hot Tips For IY Group Leaders Delivering Parent Programs Online

 Hot Tips For IY Group Leaders Delivering Child Programs Online

Website support for group leaders who are leading groups remotely: Our Resources for Group Leaders Working Remotely web page has tips for group leaders, handouts for parents and children, fillable homework record pages, stickers and tool awards to send to parents and children as well as fillable weekly and final evaluation forms.

How many sessions do I need to complete on-line, and how long should each session be?

Session length: Group leaders should collaborate with parents to determine optimal and realistic on-line session length and most appropriate time of day. In most cases for group delivery we recommend 60-90 minute sessions and 45-60 minutes for the individualized sessions. Most families are doing these calls from their own homes, with children present and finding uninterrupted time is challenging especially if they are working from home, doing home schooling or taking care of a sick family member. Many group leaders are delivering these to parents at night after children are in bed. Often at this time parents are tired and a shorter group time will be best to help parents manage fatigue and optimize learning. 

Number of sessions:  Based on our research regarding program dosage, Incredible Years groups have a minimum dosage recommendation. For in-person Basic Parent prevention low risk groups this is a minimum of 14, 2-hour sessions (28 hours) and for Basic Parent treatment/high-risk groups this is a minimum of 18-20, 2-hour sessions (36-40 hours).  Some groups will move more slowly through the material and will need more sessions to complete the program.  Since on-line sessions will be shorter than the usual 2-hour in-person groups, it will take more sessions/weeks to cover the same amount of parenting material.  Moreover, group leaders will also be discussing other family issues such as stress, depression, child anxiety, and family conflict related to the Covid virus situation. The number of sessions offered should be adjusted accordingly to offer at least the minimum number of hours for the type of group conducted (e.g., at least 28 hours for a Basic prevention group) and preferably more sessions.  While this may seem like a daunting number of weeks to work with a group, group leaders may be surprised to find that on-line groups have better parent attendance and that parents really welcome the sustained group support during this time of physical isolation and increased family stress. In some cases you might find it helpful to offer 1 hour sessions twice a week so you can complete this is in a shorter number of weeks and add more frequent weekly support.

Number of participants: It is recommended to have no more than 8 parents per on-line group.  Sometimes you will find 8 parents will involve more than 8 adults because partners and other caregivers in the home can join the on-line group. This is one of the silver linings of on-line home delivery of the program because all those caregivers involved with the child can be on the same page in their parenting approaches. For the treatment version of the program and higher risk families it is recommended to have 4-6 parents online. This allows the group leader to tailor the on-line practices to the developmental level of the child and nature of their language, play and behavior issues.

What materials will the parents or children need for on-line sessions?

For the parent IY BASIC programs it is helpful to send parents the “How I am Incredible” form and complete it ahead of time during your initial assessment interview.  During those initial interview calls you can find out if the parents have a printer or not. If they do have a printer you can send the weekly editable home activities, record sheets, refrigerator notes, thought cards, and brainstorm buzz sheets for each of the main topics ahead of time by email.  This way they can keep their notes on them during the session. If they don’t have a printer it will be necessary to send them each topic packet of materials in the mail ahead of time. You will also need to send them the parent book ahead of time so they can read the suggested chapters each week.  Parents will also need some of their child’s favorite toys, puppets, puzzles and books for use in the practices. 

For the child Dinosaur Small Group and Classroom programs it is helpful to send home via email some of the child dinosaur games, such as bingo, the crossword puzzle and maze handouts or other turtle or teasing shield templates, dot-to-dot games, self-encouragement bubble, calm down thermometer and some of the appropriate social skills, problem solving, anger management, solution lightbulbs and feeling graphics for each topic.  If parents don’t have printers then send these via postal mail ahead of time.  In addition, ask parents to have their children’s blocks, Legos or Duplos, puppets, favorite stuffed animals, or concentrating puzzles available. For each of the dinosaur topics you can tell parents which toys or art supplies, markers and writing books such as the feeling alphabet or secret pals blank books or interview sheets will be needed. In addition, parents are sent dinosaur stickers so they can reward the children for their participation on-line. As well parents are asked to prepare a small snack mid session for the snack break. 

What materials will the group leaders need?

Group leaders will need to have a computer to deliver this program. They can show the video vignettes by putting the vignettes they have chosen for the session on their computer monitor. This can be done with the DVD or USB. Recently we have started streaming our Baby, Toddler, Preschool Basic, & School Age Basic Parenting Programs and Dina Child Programs online so group leaders can access the program videos this way.  See our IY Online page for more information on program video streaming.

In addition group leaders will need their toys, puppets, Wally books and materials for each session topic such as laminated rules and solution cards in the detective kit, spinning wheel, calm down thermometer and examples of what completed activities look like such as the turtle puppet or anger shield. Encourage children to sent you pictures of their activities so you can share them on-line at the next session.   Be sure to dress your puppets differently for each session and have them share their own homework activity.

Download these FAQs for Online Delivery: FAQ’s For Online Delivery Of IY Programs


Leave a comment

Tips for Parents to Support Children’s Dinosaur School Learning Online & Offline

  • by Carolyn Webster-Stratton, IY Program Developer

Freddy smiling 6506.jpg

Whether children are returning to school full time with smaller class-sizes, in a hybrid model that combines in-person and remote teaching, or totally on-line, parents will be struggling with decisions regarding how to support their children’s safe learning and education. Every community is different in terms of the risk level for Covid-19 and every family is different in terms of its needs. While it is important you consult with your local health expert recommendations, at the end of the day, it’s your choice. Trust your instincts and give yourself permission to change your mind as new information becomes available. In addition to academic learning, making your child’s social and emotional learning a priority is especially important when young children have been isolated at home for months without peer interactions.

ShowMeFivePoster_wRulesThe Dinosaur Social and Emotional Curriculum may be offered by teachers or child group therapists to groups of children (ages 3-8 years) twice a week on-line for 30-60 minutes. During these sessions, children will meet their friends to talk with large life-size puppets and teachers about their feelings, rules for how to stay safe, how to make friends and communicate with others, how to problem solve, how to identify and talk about their feelings with peers, how to feel better when experiencing upset feelings, how to calm down when angry, and how to be a good friend to others.

We recommend that, when possible, parents participate in these sessions with their children. This will enhance their ability to support their child’s emotional and social development during the session and throughout the rest of the day. If parents cannot participate, leaders will be sending regular Dinosaur School notes describing how parents can enhance their child’s emotional and social learning at home.

Please see Carolyn’s Tips for Parents Supporting Young Children’s Online and Offline Dinosaur School Social and Emotional Learning

For more resources for Group Leaders delivering IY programs remotely, please visit our website!

Puppets computer01a.jpg


Leave a comment

Hot Tips for IY Group Leaders Delivering Child Programs Online

  • by Carolyn Webster-Stratton, PhD, Developer of Incredible Years® Programs

DinoGraphic Crop.jpg

In the past few months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many teachers and child group therapists trained in either the Incredible Years® Dinosaur Small Group treatment program or the Classroom Dinosaur curriculum have started remote delivery of the Dina Dinosaur curriculum to support children’s social and emotional adjustment at home.

Felicity Mask CropWe have been impressed by their willingness to cope with technological challenges and with their innovative responses to this on-line delivery approach.  It seems that most child group therapists and teachers we have talked with have followed the Incredible Years® principles and have worked to make the remote sessions as similar as possible to the IY in-person groups. They are also finding ways to promote genuine relationships and fun interactive experiences and games to present curriculum to the children. Many have sent the children letters and home activities from Dina Dinosaur (posted on Incredible Years® website). Reports indicate that the children have been responsive and engaged with the puppets and activities and look forward to the weekly sessions. Attendance has been good, with few drop outs.  This document expands on the previous blogs and articles I have written about reaching out to children with Dinosaur School.

One way that Incredible Years® and Dinosaur School teachers and therapists around the world have connected with families is by filming their interactions with their puppet friends. These are then shared with children and their families.  The Incredible Years® program developer has posted video example scenarios of herself using the puppets to explore children’s feelings (boredom, loneliness, fear and anxiety, anger and depression) and how they can cope with these feelings.

These videos, as well as videos produced by other dinosaur group leaders around the world, can be found on the Resources for Group Leaders page of our website (look in the tab titled “Resources and Videos for Teachers Working Remotely with Preschoolers”).

For example, please see the vignettes posted at Colorado Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting (RMPBS).  RMPBS partnered with Invest in Kids Dinosaur School trained teachers to film them using the Dinosaur Curriculum puppets to talk about feelings such as being brave, impatient, scared, calm, loved, proud, sad, and grateful.

Triceratops.jpgThese teachers use the Dinosaur Curriculum feeling cards (from Triceratops Unit Three: Understanding and Detecting Feelings) to help children name these feelings, have discussions about how cope with their uncomfortable feelings so they can feel better, and have set up related art and game activities such as feelings bingo, feelings wheel, feelings dictionary, puppet plays, and songs (such as the Rainbow of Feelings from Dina’s Greatest Hits). In some cases, teachers have set up systems so that children can send in pictures of what they are doing to feel happy. These are shared with the children in the subsequent on-line program session. The children are delighted to see each others’ work.

Another group of teachers from Palomar Family Counseling Services Inc., funded by the County of San Diego Health and Human Services, also developed some incredible video clips of how they deliver Dinosaur School on line, again focusing on the Triceratops Feelings Unit.  Please check out their videos of how they use the puppets and books to help their students talk about their feelings and find ways to cope with them.

All these examples show ways that teachers and small group therapists can reach out to help children process their feelings through puppet scenarios, reading books, and writing or art activities. Evaluations so far are promising and indicate the children are enjoying and looking forward to these on-line interactions with their puppet friends.

Of course, there is a need for a randomized control trial (RCT) to compare on-line individual or on-line group training with in-person training to determine whether the on-line approach is as effective as the RCTs conducted in the in-person child groups (Webster-Stratton, C., Reid, M. J., Stoolmiller, M. 2008; Webster-Stratton, C., Reid, M. J., Hammond, M. 2001; Webster-Stratton, C., Reid, M. J., Hammond, M. 2004; Webster-Stratton, C, Hammond, M. 1997). Nonetheless at a time when we can’t safely do in-person group delivery with children, the IY Video tele-session on-line approach seems an opportunity to learn how to support children and their families in a different way.

It was definitely daunting at first; we didn’t know how students or parents would respond, or how we, as group leaders, were going to do it without the classroom interaction. Don’t let those thoughts be discouraging! Our videos aren’t perfect, but they are authentic and responsive to the very real challenges that arrived with the pandemic. Students are struggling with many different and complex feelings, so continued social-emotional support is critical during this time. I love that we have been able to provide some of this support through our virtual Dinosaur School circle time. My coworkers and I never anticipated being on YouTube, but we all agree that it’s been an excellent way to reach students and families in the world of virtual learning. – Emily Shoots, Lead Teacher Facilitator, Palomar Family Counseling Service, Inc. San Diego

We have been doing our Dinosaur School once a week, and a puppet comes to our google meeting. One session we talked about feeling lonely. I had sent out the shared video from Carolyn Webster Stratton with Felicity Feelings ahead of time and as a result one student brought her new guppies to the meeting and said that she told her mom she was feeling lonely in her room and her mom got her some guppies. We also had a student share that when he was at home he worked hard to build a rocket and he felt proud when he was done. He shared all of this with us without any prompting or follow up questions. Our students have done a remarkable job understanding and labeling their feelings through this difficult time and I owe so much of it to the time we spent with the feelings unit in the IY Dinosaur School curriculum.  – Dinosaur School Trained Teacher, Colorado.

felicity with magnifying glass.JPGThis paper is written to help IY child therapists and teachers understand how to deliver the child dinosaur curriculum on-line in either individual or group format. It will cover how to select children for either the individual or a group on-line IY video approach, provide tips to tailoring the IY child on-line session agenda, how to determine the length and number of sessions needed, and ways to promote essential IY methods, processes, and program delivery fidelity principles when delivering the IY dinosaur child program on-line.  Child therapists or teachers will learn how to work with their coleaders, to share their screen to mediate video vignettes, and to promote more intimacy and child engagement by setting up cooperative practices’, fun games, and drawing contests using the zoom rooms, white boards, or art supplies at home. They will learn how to use Zoom chats to reinforce children with dinosaur stickers, how to involve parents in these activities, and how to use the IY web site resources to share on-line weekly home activities.

Read Carolyn Webster-Stratton’s Hot Tips for IY Group Leaders Delivering Child Programs Online

Please visit our Resources for Group Leaders Working Remotely webpage for:

☀Handouts and Activities for Parents and Children
☀Sample Videos for Delivering Dina Child Programs Online
☀Editable Cards and Awards


Leave a comment

Faster, Easier, and More Incredible ~ Video Streaming!

  • by Carolyn Webster-Stratton, PhD, IY Program Developer

Yes, we have made the leap to streaming the Incredible Years® video program vignettes!

NOW AVAILABLE!  Baby Parenting ProgramToddler Basic ProgramPreschool Basic Program & School Age Basic Program AND Child Program videos for Classroom Dina and Small Group Dina in streaming format.  COMING SOON:  Autism program video streaming, and eventually we will have streaming subscription options for all the programs.

Why did we do this?

Actually the project to figure out the best way to convert the Incredible Years program video vignettes to streaming format was underway at least a year before Covid-19,  but this crisis has really pushed us to finalize the details so that group leaders could more easily reach and support parents, teachers, and children at home.  In March of 2020 many IY group leaders began providing the Incredible Years program to families via various internet platforms but some were having difficulties using the DVDs or USBs to show their videos in on-line sessions. We needed another option for viewing the videos on-line.

Over the past 6 months we have prepared hundreds of program video vignettes, uploaded them to the web, labeled and formatted them into playlists, and worked out a secure subscription-based format for streaming.  We are now ready to go and hope that you enjoy accessing the video vignettes in this way!

How to use streaming?

When you purchase a subscription, you will receive a confirmation email from incredibleyears@incredibleyears.com that includes your user name and password, and link to our video streaming webpage.  In order to protect our subscription account information, our streaming site uses 2-Factor account authentication.  After entering your account username and password, you will see a screen notifying you that a single-use code is being sent to your email address.  Your account subscription to the videos will be accessible from any device with internet connection.  The vignettes are arranged in easy-to-navigate playlists for each program part.

Pricing

Group Leaders may now purchase a Program curriculum package with a one-year subscription to the videos online. This option has everything a new Group Leader needs – video streaming subscriptions, group leader manual, books, and accessory materials. Prices start at $625 per person with discounts available for 5 or more subscriptions.

If your agency has previously purchased the full program package with accessory materials, you may purchase a one-year subscription to access the videos online with no additional accessory items. Prices start at $500 per subscription, with discounts available for 5 or more subscriptions.

Please see our IY Online page and our Purchasing page for further information.


Leave a comment

Hot Tips for IY Group Leaders Delivering Parent Programs Online

  • by Carolyn Webster-Stratton, Ph.D., Developer of Incredible Years Programs

Screenshot to add to Carolyn's chapter.png

How it took a pandemic to force the IY developer to explore the use of on-line Incredible Years video tele-session training

Up until 6 months ago I was resistant to the idea of on-line IY video tele-session training and had never used Zoom or any other platform to provide parent intervention. I believed strongly in the importance of face-to-face training interactions and the value of experiential and reflective learning with others through collaborative problem solving, role plays, and practices. I found the group trainings the most satisfying aspect of both my own clinical group work as well as the preferred method for training new group leaders. My early research with several randomized control group trials (Webster-Stratton, 1984; Webster-Stratton, Kolpacoff, Hollingsorth, 1988) showed better parent and child outcome effect sizes when parents were trained via group interventions using video modeling with trained group leaders, versus group only without video methods, or self-administered video-based programs, or individualized one-on-one approaches using “bug in the ear” methods. The power of group support and building parent relationships was a critical element in parents’ ability to change behaviors. Parents in most IY parent groups were reluctant to have their trainings end despite the fact they were 18+ 2-hour weekly sessions. Many parents made plans to continue to see and support each other afterwards. I couldn’t imagine on-line delivery being a substitute for the in-person group experience where parents could build strong and supportive interpersonal relationships. It seemed to me that on-line training, even in groups, was more impersonal and that it would be difficult to establish trust and meaningful connections between group leaders and parents and to carry out successful practices with each other.

So, my foray into IY video tele-sessions was, to large extent, forced because of the coronavirus preventing travel and the inability to have groups of people together in one room. Initially the technology seemed intimidating and frustrating and likely affected my enthusiasm and effectiveness at using this method of program delivery. However, I have now reached the point of actually enjoying aspects of this approach and exploring how I can increase the similarities between IY in-person and on-line sessions and promoting genuine connections. Perhaps it is not the platform that makes one training method more effective than the other, rather it is the group leader who is able to make the individual or group feel safe and engaging on-line. One of the tricks is for group leaders to allow themselves to experiment with technology methods to bring fun, meaning and collaboration into the training, to reduce expectations for covering as much content in one session as for in-person sessions and to staying flexible with technology challenges. I was not an easy convert and still find this approach more fatiguing than face-to-face intervention and look forward to returning to the in-person approach when it is safe again. However, I can envision a silver lining to this on-line training method for the future, especially for parents who can’t travel to groups because of lack of transportation, or incompatible work schedules or sickness, or some other family conflict. It even appears from early data that parent dropouts or missed sessions from on-line training may be lower than group approaches because on-line sessions can more easily be rescheduled to adjust to a schedule conflict whereas face-to-face group sessions cannot. Now I love to send participants to rooms for practice, to give them funny stickers, and rewards for their efforts and help them share their successes with each other. While I can’t provide interesting snack rewards or tangible prizes or hugs I can encourage participants to do something for themselves at this challenging time and work on some work-life balance. I am encouraged by the positive participant evaluations and comments such as, “this is definitely better than nothing”. Here are a few other comments on our parent evaluations.

There was so much helpful information covered in today’s session, I look forward to putting these practices and ideas into my time with my five-year-old. I appreciated the group leader addressing specific questions I had regarding independent play, and also sharing some videos with social/emotional coaching that were relevant to my parenting (as a mom of boys). Also, I look forward to sharing some breathing/calming exercises so he can find some good self- soothing strategies to grow with. There were several helpful ideas for this, and I had actually not heard most of these before!”

This paper is written to help IY group leaders understand how deliver on-line individual or group sessions. The article will cover how to select parents for either the individual or a group on-line IY video tele-session training, to provide tips to tailoring the IY parent video tele-session agenda, to determining the number of sessions needed, and ways to promote essential IY methods, processes, and fidelity principles when delivering the IY programs on-line.  Group leaders will learn how to work with their co-leaders, to share their screen to mediate video vignettes and to promote more intimacy by using on-line rooms to set up buzzes and practices. The chat function and white boards can be used to record key principles. You will learn how to use the IY web site to share on-line weekly home activities, record sheets, refrigerator notes, and session evaluations via internet to parents.

Read Carolyn Webster-Stratton’s article Hot Tips for IY Group Leaders Delivering Parent Programs Online here!

View our Resources for Group Leaders delivering IY programs Online here!

 


Leave a comment

Congratulations on a Beautiful End to MotherWise’s First Spanish Incredible Years® Program!

Cheers to our friends at MotherWise! This program in Denver, CO, has just completed their first Incredible Years® course with Spanish-speaking mothers – online!  IY group leader Emily Parkey has shared their success with us.

Spanish 2020 Virtual Cohort.jpg

I am overcome with joy and love after participating this morning in MotherWise’s Virtual Spanish IY Program Celebration! 

I would like to take a moment to recognize MotherWise, under the leadership of Executive Director, Galena Rhoades, and Programs and Community Outreach Manager, Jessie Purcel, for making the decision to provide the class virtually to meet participants’ needs during the quarantine.

Parent Program Facilitator, Amanda Love, advocated for the class to take place online after the class was abruptly shut down in mid-March due to Covid-19. Throughout the quarantine, Amanda kept in touch with class participants who felt like they needed the class more than ever, given the increase in time spent at home with their children. Amanda and Jessie problem solved ways to ensure that participants could receive meals and incentives on class nights, and even linked participants’ children to virtual childcare programming throughout the class to ensure that participants could fully interact with the program content.

Under Amanda’s leadership, the virtual program maintained the vast majority of original participants, and was a great way to boost participants’ confidence levels and parenting skill sets throughout the quarantine. Even better, throughout the course of the program, participants strengthened relationships with their children and each other. They now have created a network of Spanish-speaking mothers who will continue to practice skills and support each other long after the program’s end.

At today’s ceremony each graduate mentioned what they had learned from the program, and I would love to share some of these take-always with you (translated from Spanish).

“Especially in this time of coronavirus in which we are all inside of our houses this class has taught me how to be more patient. I am a better mom now because I know how to listen to my children.”

“I was surprised because I thought that this class was going to tell us all of the things that we were doing wrong. Instead, this class taught me to put myself in my child’s shoes to understand how she thinks.”

“My favorite part has been teaching my children how to solve their own problems. I think that this will help them, not only now, but in the future.”

“My favorite part was learning about time out. My daughter doesn’t see it as a punishment, but as a reset. She finishes her time and then goes on her way.”

“I am less authoritarian. I give fewer commands. It’s not about punishing children, we can have fun together.”

“I learned how to praise my child. Now he also praises me!”

Amanda, congratulations for creating a beautiful connection and community with these mothers – and for harnessing the power of their parenting with great fidelity to the Incredible Years Program!

Sincerely,
Emily Parkey
Bilingual Program Consultant
Invest in Kids
Denver, CO

Cheers to everyone at MotherWise, and to Emily for sharing their success with us!

To learn more about MotherWise, please click here to visit their website.


Leave a comment

The Incredible Years® Parenting Course – reflections from a group leader on her first course

Accredited Incredible Years Parent Group Leader Kate Bentley has recently written an article sharing her experiences the first time she led an IY group.  She has shared her article with us.

Incredible Parenting, by Kate Bentley

PigbuildWhen I was first told that I would be facilitating The Incredible Years Parenting Group, I was petrified. I felt I would look like a fraud and a hypocrite as I don’t profess to be a ‘perfect parent’, I’m definitely not getting it right all of the time. The first lesson I learnt is that I would be a facilitator not the teacher – the course does the teaching. It’s evidence based – tried and tested.

The first day of my first course I was a nervous wreck. As we welcomed everyone into the room, I could sense their nerves too, this reassured me some what and I was thankful of having an experienced co facilitator by my side. Then Sophie stormed in, late. She didn’t want to be there, she didn’t need to tell us as her body language was shouting it.

Her presence was not helping my nerves, especially with her intimidating death stare. As the 1st session got going, and everyone shared their goals, what they hoped to get out of the course. Sophie made it clear that she wasn’t there by choice, although she did reluctantly say she wanted to stop shouting at her daughter. She was a tough audience but I’m so thankful for Sophie, as she showed me how powerful parenting courses can be. It was in that moment that I put my faith in my training and in the course material.

Week 2 Sophie was still prickly, Week 3 she was participating a bit and starting to thaw.

By week 4 the group had bonded. They looked forward to seeing each other, hearing about how the homework had gone, they were celebrating each others successes as well as offering support and encouragement. I nearly fell off my chair when on week 4 Sophie offered a really positive suggestion to a fellow participant who was struggling.

parent_spotlight pos behav cropIt was Week 6 when I really understood the value of this course. The members were already starting to comment ‘I can’t believe we only have 6 weeks left’, ‘I don’t want it to end’. They were seeing really positive differences at home and enjoyed the space to talk, share and learn.

Parenting Courses are not about learning to be ‘perfect parents’, they are not about judgement or showing people up. They are about building confidence, seeing parenting from the child’s perspective, sharing experiences and gaining a toolkit of positive strategies.

On our last session, Week 12, we celebrated the end of the course, the certificates were presented and it’s a time to reflect. Sophie gave her speech, ‘ I’ve loved this course, everyone should be made to do it. I’ve told all my friends about it’. This blew me away and I felt quite choked but then she went on to say ‘I’ve stopped shouting at my daughter, she isn’t scared of me any more. Our relationship is a 100% better. Thank you so much’.

I have been passionate about delivering the Incredible Years Parenting Group ever since.

Final Edit - Article 2.jpg

 

Thanks so much to Kate for sharing her experience with us!  Kate’s article originally appeared at Raring2go!  https://raring2go.co.uk/


Leave a comment

Palomar Family Counseling Service Brings Incredible Years® Dinosaur School to Students in San Diego During Covid-19

by Emily Shoots, LMFT
Lead Facilitator
Palomar Family Counseling Service, Inc.
North Coastal Prevention and Early Intervention

Mission  Graduation.jpgWhen schools abruptly closed down on March 13, 2020, we had to adapt quickly as it was clear that children’s social-emotional needs would be greater than ever.  We reached out to partner teachers (Kindergarten through 3rd grade) and joined in their virtual learning time in late March to do the Incredible Years® (IY) small Dinosaur School circle time, but it didn’t feel like enough.  As a parent of two young children, I was worried about the decline of socioemotional skills for them, as well as for the students we’d worked so hard with all year.  Parents that we spoke with were also asking how they could better support their children.  I wanted to do something more, and I longed to find a way to reach my students that I have been serving for almost four years.  Not just to help them feel connected, but for myself as well.  I missed them.  I wanted a way for them to access  IY Dinosaur School whenever they were able to, whether that was in the middle of the day, or at night right before bed.  I decided to utilize something that I knew most of my students were already familiar with, YouTube.

Grad Thumbnail[6695]

We knew our YouTube lessons would need to look different than what our usual Incredible Years® Dinosaur School classroom circle time entailed, so my coworkers and I had to do some brainstorming.  I have been providing Dinosaur School small groups and classroom circle times for over 5 years, and our agency has been using the Incredible Years® model for 14 years.  We love the way the Incredible Years® model utilizes the puppets to normalize behaviors and feelings for our students.  The curriculum allows for facilitators to be creative, flexible, and socially relevant to their students’ unique experiences.  So we looked at our Dinosaur School topics of doing your personal best, detecting and understanding feelings, problem solving, and friendly skills and tried to figure out how to address these and present them without the normal interaction of the classroom.  What does it mean to do your personal best while virtually learning?  How can we talk about friendly skills when students are away from their friends?  What new feelings and problems are our students struggling with because of COVID-19?  My coworkers and I, but mostly our puppet friends, discussed how to solve these problems, such as how we miss our friends and school.  We talked about ways to stay connected to each other, like playing games over FaceTime or Zoom, but took it one step further by having Principal Dina and Wally play a game of virtual Uno.  We addressed the many different feelings that students and parents might be having during the pandemic, and we helped to normalize them.  We stressed the importance of mindfulness.  We found supplemental books outside of our usual Dinosaur School curriculum to read to students so they could feel a sense of normalcy.  We did creative lessons with more than one facilitator and puppet to help keep the students engaged.  Many of our teachers utilized these videos in their virtual classrooms, and asked students to comment on what they learned, or what solution they might like to try.  Some students emailed our Dinosaur School email to express their feelings.

Our YouTube channel has over 900 views (and counting), and although it has been quite a learning curve, it has been well worth it.  We love the idea that our students can watch us whenever they want.  And parents can watch with their children, something that they weren’t able to do in the past, and then reinforce the concepts and lessons at home.  With this format, my coworkers and I can watch each other’s videos and give feedback on content and puppeting skills.  My own children have thoroughly enjoyed watching (and helping make) our videos, and have asked me multiple times to start doing them again.  It was definitely daunting at first; we didn’t know how students or parents would respond, or how we, as facilitators, were going to do it without the classroom interaction.  Don’t let those thoughts be discouraging!  Our videos aren’t perfect, but they are authentic and responsive to the very real challenges that arrived with the pandemic.  Students are struggling with many different and complex feelings, so continued social-emotional support is critical during this time.  I love that we have been able to provide some of this support through our virtual Dinosaur School circle time.  My coworkers and I never anticipated being on YouTube but we all agree that it’s been an excellent way to reach students and families in the world of virtual learning.

Check out Palomar Family Counseling Service’s YouTube Channel here!

Emily Shoots is the Lead Facilitator for the North Coastal Prevention & Early Intervention program at Palomar Family Counseling Service, funded by Behavioral Health Services in the County of San Diego. Her program uses the Incredible Years® model in six elementary schools and a typical week included 41 Dinosaur School classroom circle times, and 48 Dinosaur School small groups.

 

 


Leave a comment

Incredible Beginnings® Implementation and Evaluation in Powys, Wales

sue-anne-8951

Sue Evans & Anne Breese

 

The Powys Teaching Health Board is helping to support the implementation and evaluation of the Incredible Beginnings® program in their community.  IY Trainer Sue Evans and IY Mentor Anne Breese have delivered the Incredible Beginnings® course to early childhood teachers throughout Powys, and Dr. Jessica Crumpton, Specialist Child Psychologist at Powys Teaching Health Board has prepared an outcomes report. They have shared their outcomes assessment with us. Here is a summary of the report:

 

20190717_130110.jpegSince its introduction in 2017 three Incredible Beginnings® courses have been delivered to 31 childcare workers from 14 different childcare settings across Powys. 

The programme has been delivered by Dr Sue Evans, Consultant Child Psychologist, an Incredible Years® trainer, Anne Breese, an Incredible Years® mentor in the Classroom Dina programme and peer coach in the parenting programmes, and Emma Peace (Community Advisory Teacher, Flying Start Lead).

In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the programme, staff attending the training were asked to choose a child anonymously who was showing a high level of need in terms of the development of social and emotional skills and to complete a Strengths and Difficulties questionnaire (SDQ)  measures prior to the course starting and after its completion.

Following the Incredible Beginnings® programme, there was a reduction in the scores on the four areas of difficulty; emotional problems, conduct problems, hyperactivity and peer problems. These findings suggest that following the programme, children’s emotional problems, conduct problems, hyperactivity and peer problems had all improved. Furthermore, there was an increase in the scores on the items measuring prosocial behaviour, suggesting the childcare workers felt that the course improved children’s prosocial behaviour.

pre and post subscale scores 3

An overall “total difficulties” score is computed comprising the four problem scales; emotional problems, hyperactivity, conduct problems and peer problems. These scores are then categorised and compared against normative data.

Of the staff that completed both pre and post measures  (n=21), there was a reduction in the total difficulties score and this reduction was significant using a paired samples t test.

pre and post _Page_2.jpg

Furthermore, there was a reduction in the percentage of scores in the clinical range (scoring 15 and above on the total difficulties scale) from 86% to 0%. This means that the majority of children were scoring in the clinical range at the start of the course and all moved to scoring within normal limits by the end of the course.

Read the full outcomes report here.

Learn more about the Incredible Beginnings® program here.