Using an evidence-based online module to improve parents' ability to support their child with Developmental Coordination Disorder
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BACKGROUND: Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a prevalent neurodevelopmental disorder. Best practices include raising parents' awareness and building capacity but few interventions incorporating these best practices are documented. OBJECTIVE: To examine whether an evidence-based online module can increase the perceived knowledge and skills of parents of children with DCD, and lead to behavioral changes when managing their child's health condition. METHODS: A mixed-methods, before-after design guided by the Theory of Planned Behavior was employed. Data about the knowledge, skills and behaviors of parents of children with DCD were collected using questionnaires prior to completing the module, immediately after, and three months later. Paired T-tests, sensitivity analyses and thematic analyses were performed on data as appropriate. RESULTS: One hundred-sixteen, 81 and 58 participants respectively completed the three questionnaires. For knowledge and skills, post- and follow-up scores were significantly higher than baseline scores (p < 0.01). Fifty-two (64%) participants reported an intention to change behavior post-intervention and 29 (50%) participants had tried recommended strategies at follow-up. Three themes emerged to describe parents' behavioral change: sharing information, trialing strategies and changing attitudes. Factors influencing parents' ability to implement these behavioral changes included clear recommendations, time, and 'right' attitude. Perceived outcomes associated with the parental behavioral changes involved improvement in well-being for the children at school, at home, and for the family as a whole. CONCLUSIONS: The online module increased parents' self-reported knowledge and skills in DCD management. Future research should explore its impacts on children's long-term outcomes.
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