The Sequential PARent Curriculum (aka The SPARC) was designed to target the earliest signs of autism in infants between 9 and 18 months of age through a parent-mediated intervention. It is comprised of 12-weekly lesson plans targeting early childhood social and communicative development.
The SPARC combines the foundations of natural environment teaching, functional communication training, motivating operations and shaping procedures as the primary methods of teaching early social communicative skills.
It is the first pre-diagnostic comprehensive treatment model to teach language using a verbal behaviour framework.
Why is a Parent-Mediated service delivery model so important?
By using a parent-mediated service delivery approach, the transaction cycle which may be maintaining or escalating problematic behaviours or defective behaviours can be reversed and begin to further aid the child’s development.
Atypical development often leads to atypical responsiveness from parents. For example, the child can occupy themselves for an extended period of time by lining up their toys into various geometric shapes and every time the parent tries to engage, the child gets very upset. Over time, the parent may feel more reluctant to try and engage with the child during this time because this often leads to tantrums. However, the result is that child’s restricted repetitive behaviours are strengthened, their defective request (e.g., a tantrum) is reinforced and they miss out on valuable social engagement.
Teaching parents how to maximize the engagement with their child and turn daily routines into learning opportunities that practise and teach social communicative skills allows the parent to feel more competent, acting as a protective factor for parental stress, anxiety and depression and moves their child’s developmental forward.