Publication Date

Spring 2020

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Thomas Gross (Director), Christina Noel, and Timothy Thornberry

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The Families First parenting workshops were developed for caregivers of children recently diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The primary site hosts inperson workshops, but webcasts the workshops to remote sites in different areas of the United States. The purpose of this study was to assess whether parents have an increase in knowledge after participating in Families First workshops at a remote site, and to assess whether program quality ratings and child symptom severity are associated with parent knowledge. The current study addressed the following research questions:

1. Do parents participating in the Families First workshops at a remote site experience an increase of knowledge from beginning to end of the workshops?

2. Are quality ratings of comfort, satisfaction, and facilitators associated with measures of knowledge and child symptom severity?

3. Is child symptom severity associated with measures of knowledge?

Participants were primarily parents and caregivers of children diagnosed with ASD (N = 54) from rural and semi-rural Kentucky. A pre- and post-test design was used to assess content knowledge. Surveys for program quality and child symptom severity were also collected. Results indicated that caregivers consistently increased their content knowledge by the end of workshops. Further, the quality of perceived benefits was negatively associated with child symptom severity, whereas the quality of facilitators was positively associated with quality of satisfaction. In addition, the caregivers’ content knowledge was unrelated to child symptom severity. The current study provides some preliminary evidence of Families First benefits, as well as implications for caregivers of children recently diagnosed with ASD seeking preventative services.


Applied Behavior Analysis | Clinical Psychology | Education | School Psychology