'Super-parenting' vastly improves children's autism

A hands-on approach from parents greatly improves children's autism (Getty)
A hands-on approach from parents greatly improves children's autism (Getty)

The results from a long-term study into children who suffer from autism have shown 'super-parenting' can dramatically improve children's symptoms.

The study, led by several universities in the UK, followed a trial in which autistic children were given communication and activities over a six month period from their parents.

Parents would watch films of themselves interacting with their child, while at the same time a therapist would give them precise instructions in helping to communicate with their child.

The study revealed the core symptoms of autistic children within the trial reduced dramatically.

The children, aged between two and four, showed less severe symptoms of autism six years later, while they also displayed vast improvements in social interaction and communication.

Chief Executive of Autism New Zealand, Dane Dougan, told Newshub a similar programme is already in place in this country: "Most of our training courses are targeted at parents. We have always tried to provide them with the strategies to help them interact with their child with autism, so it backs up what we do now. But is terms of this study we're pretty excited about it. It's probably more detailed than any other research I've seen."

Mr Dougan has been aware of 'super-parenting' for some time, but says every child's symptoms are unique.

"We've developed four or five different training courses and education course to help those families, and for those who do need more support we have our outreach programme that goes out and provides an individualised strategy, and more in depth support and help for those families,"

"It's not as simple as saying 'this is going to work for everybody, it's about identifying that particular child's needs and then putting the strategies in place to ensure that those needs are best met as they can be," he added.

Autism affects around one in 100 people, but despite being common Mr Dougan says there is still much to learn about the condition.

"Autism is a relatively new area, and there's quite a bit of research that's been done in this country as well. Most of the research is looking to find a cause, and what we advocate for very strongly is exactly what this [UK] research does, it's about helping those parents and carers interact as best as they possibly can with their child, so they can go on and live to their full potential."