2019 MOABA Conference

Katie Fiske, PhD, BCBA-D


About the Presenter

Kate Fiske, Ph.D., BCBA-D is a Clinical Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and Director of Academic Training and Director of Family Support Services at the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center. She has worked in the field of ASD treatment for over 20 years, providing evidence-based services in skill acquisition and behavior reduction in inpatient, outpatient, and school settings. She has authored numerous chapters and journal articles on the treatment of children with ASD and their families, and is the author of the book, Autism and the Family: Understanding and Supporting Parents and Siblings.

Saturday November 16, 2019 - AM Workshop Option 1

Supporting Parents of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Behavior Analytic Settings

Abstract: The experiences of family members of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are unique, and the relationships present unique challenges. For parents of individuals with ASD, the symptoms of ASD contribute to elevated stress among parents of children with ASD, and parents’ level of stress negatively impacts their ability to effectively implement interventions. However, research indicates that support and training from professionals can reduce parental stress. Further, some research in related disciplines indicates that professional empathy can improve patient adherence to treatment. As such, professionals who are trained in how to incorporate empathy and effective parent training into their work with families have the potential to maximize treatment benefit. This workshop, designed for behavior analysts and other professionals working with individuals with ASD, aims to increase their understanding of parents’ experiences and perspectives and provide guidance in how to best support these family members during treatment for the child with ASD. I will first summarize the research on the impact of raising a child with ASD on the mental health and relationships of parents. Further, I will describe the emotional reactions of parents in response to their child’s early diagnosis, but also as their child ages over time. Concrete strategies for building and maintaining rapport with parents during treatment will be provided throughout the workshop.


1) State the general effects of collaboration and rapport on treatment outcomes.
2) Describe the impact of a child’s diagnosis of ASD on parents’ mental health and well-being over time.
3) Describe the elements of behavioral skills training for use with parents.
4) List methods that can be used to support and increase rapport with parents during treatment for individuals with ASD.