Office of Epidemiology and Research, Division of Research

Advancing Applied MCH Research

Parent Implemented Training for Autism through Teleconsultation (PITA-T)

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Project Number: R40 MC 20444
Grantee: West Virginia University
Department/Center: Psychology, Behavior Analysis Program
Project Date: 9/1/2010

Final Report


Principal Investigator

Claire St. Peter, Ph.D.
Program Manager
Box 6040
Morgantown, WV  26506
Phone: (304) 293-4603


  • Toddlerhood (13-35 months)


Needs and Problems: Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy is an evidenced-based treatment for skill deficits related to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other Pervasive Developmental Disorders (Green, 1996). Although a number of West Virginia children have ASDs and other developmental disabilities, ABA therapy is often not available to many of them. This service shortfall is due to the lack of trained clinicians, the geographic distribution of those needing services and the expense of ABA therapy. A similar problem is demonstrated for other underserved families of children with ASD in rural environments, nationally. One way to remedy the cost and lack of trained clinicians is to train parents to perform ABA therapy. The geographic distribution of families needing services complicates the training approach. Tele-consultation has been used to lessen the difficulties associated with similar geographic distributions across a range of other disciplines and clinical concerns. A similar approach may be helpful in training parents of children with ASD and other developmental disabilities to perform ABA therapy. Proposed Activities and Population to be Served: The proposed project will use a novel teleconsultation model in which video models and delayed video feedback are used to teach parents to perform ABA therapy. This teleconsultation will consist of (a) sending families videos that explain and demonstrate how to appropriately perform ABA therapy (b) having parents record themselves performing ABA therapy and sending it back to program staff, and (c) program staff providing follow-up videos that provide feedback regarding the parents' ABA therapy skills. The performance of parents from this treatment group will be compared to that of parents who are given only written instructions on how to perform ABA therapy. It is anticipated that parents who receive teleconsultation will perform better than those who only receive written instructions. Parent perceived changes in their ABA skills, changes in children's social skills, and stress levels of parents will be assessed. Anticipated Impact: Findings from the proposed research may indicate a positive impact on the healthcare of rural, underserved children with ASD as well as provide information impacting the way ASD services are organized and delivered.


Listed is descending order by year published.

Cook JE, Subramaniam S, Brunson LY, Larson NA, et al. Global measures of treatment integrity may mask important errors in discrete-trial training. Behavior Analysis in Practice. 2015. [Epub ahead of print]

Marsteller TM, St. Peter CC. Effects of fixed-time reinforcement schedules on resurgence of problem behavior. J Appl Behav Anal. 2014;47(3):455-469.

Pence ST, St. Peter CC, Giles AF. Teacher acquisition of functional analysis methodology using pyramidal training. J Behav Educ. 2014;23(1):132-149.

St. Peter CC, Brunson LY, Cook JE, Subramaniam S, Larson NA, Clingan M, Poe SG. Adherence to discrete-trial instruction procedures by rural parents of children with autism. Behav Intervent. 2014;29(3):200-12.

Pence ST, St. Peter CC, Giles AF. Teacher acquisition of functional analysis methodology using pyramidal training [published online ahead of print August 29, 2013]. J Behav Educ. doi:10.1007/s10864-013-9182-4.


Autism, Special Health Care Needs, Developmental Disabilities, Telehealth, Social & Emotional Development, Stress, Early Intervention, Rural

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