Parent Training for ASD and the ‘Dependence Trap’

Any parent with a child with ASD understands the need for intensive support through childhood as to help a child learn to negotiate the world. However in adolescence the requirement is for a ‘stepping back’ by the parent so the child can develop skills to navigate on their own in preparation for adulthood. This is not an easy transition and parents of young adults often remain excessively involved in their grown-up child’s life, with the young person increasingly reliant on assistance, compromising their ability to function independently. This process results in parents becoming burdened and distressed with increasingly negative family interactions, conflict and deterioration in relationships between the young person and their parents or between the parents. Golan, Shilo and Omer (2018) refer to this as the ‘dependence trap’ and have developed an adaptation of the NVR (Non-Violent Resistance) Model as ‘a parent-centered intervention, targeting the young adult’s dependence, the parental distress and the family atmosphere.’ The approach ‘reduces parental accommodation, helplessness and depression, while improving hopefulness and adaptation.’

 

Golan,O, Shiloa,H. and Omer,H. (2018) Non-violent resistance parent training for the

parents of young adults with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder Journal of Family Therapy 40: 4–24