The Incredible Years® Blog


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New Research! The Incredible Years for Parents of Children on the Autism Spectrum

Two researchers at the University of Maryland, School of Social Work conducted a study to determine the acceptability and short-term outcomes of the Incredible Years® Parent Program (15- week, preschool basic version) for parents raising preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study utilized a pre-post design (with no control group) reported high parent acceptability of the program. Additionally, total stress related to the child was significantly decreased with intervention effect sizes from moderate to large following program completion (Sarah Dababnah & Parish, 2014). See article abstract on our website.

Dababnah, S. (2015). Feasibility of an empirically-based program for parents of preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder The International Journal of Research and Practice.

Dababnah, S., & Parish, S. L. (2014). Incredible Years Program Tailored to Parents of Preschoolers with Autism: Pilot Results Research on Social Work Practice, 10, 1-14.

A second paper was recently published (S. Dababnah, 2015) reporting qualitative data from individual interviews with parents. Parents reported they benefited most from child emotion regulation strategies, play-based child behavior skills, parent stress management, social support and visual resources. Parents interviews suggested they would like to see  additional vignettes of children with ASD, identify alternative “sensory” rewards and access to visual resources and they also wanted to add more sessions focused on individualized parent self-care and support.

Dababnah, S. (2015). Feasibility of an empirically-based program for parents of preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder The International Journal of Research and Practice.

father and son looking at cue cards

It is interesting this study should come out the same year that a new Incredible Years Parent Program for parents of children (ages 2-5) on the Autism Spectrum or with Language Delays was released. This new parent program includes vignettes of parents and children with ASD and language delays, incentives including sensory activities, visual resources, emotional and social coaching methods, pretend play enhancement, ways to promote children’s self-regulation skills and additional family support. The program can be used as a supplement to the basic IY parenting program or offered separately as a 14-week parent program. See below a short overview video for this program!


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A Word From One of Our Parents

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dreamstime_m_2733423 adjThis summer we were delighted to hear from a mother and her family whose daily lives were improved by attending an Incredible Years® parenting course. We received a message from an IY group leader in New Zealand with an article published by a mother in their group. We were excited to read the article and get in contact with this parent. Ashley and her family went through the course not once, not twice, but three times! In her own words, “It might be possible to be addicted!”

This mother wrote a wonderfully kind article about The Incredible Years® that was published in her local paper, as well as two detailed blog posts (PART 1 & PART 2) dedicated to her experience – which you can find on her parenting blog, The Motherhood Project. Ashley’s blog posts come from an honest and reflective perspective – she discusses her initial hesitance to attend a parenting group and how it eventually helped her family.

“I’ve just finished IYP for the second time! I chose to take the course a second time because it was easy to slip back in to bad habits and I enjoyed the extra support from the group. This time I did it with my partner, which was awesome and well worth the juggle to get time off work, because then we could parent together and support each other. The strategies are simple yet very effective – and they really work! What I love most about The Incredible Years® is that it is based on a foundation of a respectful relationship with your child. We adopt an attachment parenting approach in our home and The Incredible Years® builds upon that. Thus, parenting is more positive-focused using these techniques and each day with our children is happier.

Interacting with other like-minded parents is a blessing; a support network we need. The facilitators guide the group to adopt the techniques, one at a time, into home life so the changes are sustainable. We enjoyed each week of our course. I highly recommend it to every family, because there is something there for everyone. Imagine the difference in your home if you don’t have to spend so much time yelling and debating with your children! In particular with kids on the spectrum (we have one), the strategies really worked for him. I really love that all the techniques are life skills so we are setting our children up for success.”

It is so incredible to hear about their experience using the program and the effect it had on their lives as a family. Thank you Ashley for your willingness to share and be open about your experiences. These stories are what keep us going!

– The Incredible Years®  Team