Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT): Autism Case Study #4

  • Dorothy ScattoneEmail author
  • Dustin E. Sarver
  • Amanda D. Cox


A majority of children with autism engage in behavior problems including tantrums, noncompliance, and physical aggression. Managing these behavior problems for parents can be difficult and ultimately can limit the family’s participation in educational, community, and family social activities. Therefore, interventions that teach parents to effectively manage behavior problems may significantly improve functioning in these areas. In addition, evidence for the use of behavior programs such as Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) to treat behavior problems—and potentially autistic behaviors—in children with autism is still accumulating. The following case study presents the effectiveness of PCIT in the treatment of noncompliance for a 4-year-old boy with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and limited language skills. Rating scales and observations of behavior problems, social interactions, and repetitive behaviors were collected at pre- and posttreatment, with parent/teacher ratings of behavior also collected at 12-month follow-up. Results of this case study demonstrate that PCIT was effective in reducing parent/teacher ratings of behavior problems, and improving parent-child interactions, child compliance, and objective indicators of social interaction (e.g., eye gaze, prosocial behaviors) and repetitive behaviors. The case study provides clinicians with specific examples in which PCIT was tailored to address or circumvent difficulties associated with autism, and provides recommendations for use of PCIT in this population.


Autism Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) Autism spectrum Autism treatment Behavior therapy Social stories Time-out Parenting Observational coding 



This project was funded by the Mississippi Council for Developmental Disabilities (MSCDD).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorothy Scattone
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dustin E. Sarver
    • 1
  • Amanda D. Cox
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsCenter for Advancement of Youth, University of Mississippi Medical CenterJacksonUSA

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