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Acceptability and Cost Comparison of a Telehealth Intervention for Families of Children With Autism

Little, Lauren M., PhD, OTR; Wallisch, Anna, PhD, OTR/L; Pope, Ellen, OTD, OTR; Dunn, Winnie, PhD, OTR, FAOTA

doi: 10.1097/IYC.0000000000000126
Original Research/Study

Intervention services positively impact outcomes of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families. However, families face many burdens when accessing high-quality intervention services such as availability of providers, time, and cost; these burdens are often magnified for underserved families. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the acceptability (n = 17) and cost-effectiveness (n = 18) of a 12-week telehealth intervention among families of young children with ASD. To understand the acceptability of the intervention, caregivers completed a questionnaire about the process and content of the intervention. We then used descriptive statistics to calculate estimated cost differences between a Clinic-based Model, an In-Home Model, and a Telehealth Model. Results suggest that families found the intervention highly acceptable and effective, and telehealth would result in exponential savings for both families and providers. Telehealth provides a promising method for serving an increased number of families, particularly those in underserved and rural areas.

Department of Occupational Therapy, Rush University, Chicago, Illinois (Dr Little); Juniper Gardens Children's Project, The University of Kansas, Kansas City, Kansas (Dr Wallisch); Dunn & Pope Strengths-Based Coaching, dunnandpopecoaching.com (Drs Pope and Dunn); and Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Missouri, Columbia (Dunn).

Correspondence: Lauren M. Little, PhD, OTR, Department of Occupational Therapy, Rush University, 600 S Paulina St, Chicago, IL 60612 (lauren_little@rush.edu).

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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