Cultural adaptation of online intervention program underway for Hispanic families

Karen Salisbury Henry

Cultural adaptation of online intervention program underway for Hispanic families

Researchers with the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project and K-CART are testing a Spanish version of the Online and Applied System for Intervention Skills (OASIS) that will go beyond translating the program from one language to another.

As reported in a recent issue of Family ProcessJay Buzhardt and Linda Heitzman-Powell are researching the effectiveness of adaptations for Spanish-speaking families that address a more encompassing concept of Hispanic family culture. This includes an emphasis on the role of familism or familismo, which refers to the inclusion of extended family in functions like caretaking and childcare. The researchers plan to test the effectiveness of implementing OASIS when using a bilingual coach, as opposed to an interpreter, and when parents are encouraged to promote OASIS strategies to extended family members. The adaptations were recommended by focus groups and an advisory board comprising families and leaders in the Hispanic community.

The OASIS program teaches parents of children with autism how to implement strategies based on Applied Behavior Analysis. The authors note that they know of “no distance training programs that have been culturally adapted to teach Hispanic families evidence-based practices for their children with autism.” They also suggest that culturally based adaptations, as opposed to linguistic translations, may improve online content regardless of ethnicity.

A pilot test of OASIS-H (the Hispanic adaptation) yielded promising results and the researchers are now working on a large-scale, randomized-control study.