During the three-month closure of clinics and day centers in Iran due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown, parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) became solely responsible for their care and education. Although centers maintained telephone contact, it quickly became evident that parents needed more detailed advice and guidance. Staff from 30 daycare centers volunteered to take part in a two-month online support and training course for 336 caregivers of children with ASD of different ages. In addition to the provision of visual and written information, synchronous video sessions were used to coach parents on the learning goals devised for the children. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected to understand the acceptability of using telepractice and the outcomes achieved. A low dropout rate and positive feedback from parents indicated that they perceived telepractice sessions to be useful. The factors contributing to parents’ satisfaction were identified. Although the use of telepractice would be a good alternative for caregivers in any future lockdowns, it could also be used in conjunction with daycare center services to encourage greater parental participation, or with families living in areas with no day centers. Further studies are needed to compare telepractice to usual daycare face-to-face interventions, and to document its impact and cost-effectiveness for parents and children.
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- autism spectrum disorders
- parental-mediated intervention
- daycare center