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Families’ experiences in virtual More Than Words (Denusik et al., 2023)

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posted on 2023-03-06, 18:57 authored by Lauren Denusik, Michelle Servais, Danielle Glista, Kathryn Hatherly, Sheila Moodie, Janis Oram Cardy, Elaine Weitzman, Barbara Jane Cunningham

Purpose: The COVID-19 pandemic required most pediatric rehabilitation programs to shift to a virtual delivery format without the benefits of evidence to support this transition. Our study explored families’ experiences participating virtually in More Than Words, a program for parents of autistic children, with the goal of generating new evidence to inform both virtual service delivery and program development.

Method: Twenty-one families who recently completed a virtual More Than Words program participated in a semistructured interview. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed in NVivo using a top-down deductive approach that referenced a modified Dynamic Knowledge Transfer Capacity model.

Results: Six themes capturing families’ experiences with different components of virtual service delivery were identified: (a) experiences participating from home, (b) accessing the More Than Words program, (c) delivery methods and program materials, (d) the speech-language pathologist–caregiver relationship, (e) new skills learned, and (f) virtual program engagement.

Conclusions: Most participants had a positive experience in the virtual program. Suggested areas for improvement included the time and length of intervention sessions and increasing social connections with other families. Practice considerations related to the importance of childcare during group sessions and having another adult to support the videorecording of parent–child interactions. Clinical implications include suggestions for how clinicians can create a positive virtual experience for families.

Supplemental Material S1. Interview guide. 

Denusik, L., Servais, M., Glista, D., Hatherly, K., Moodie, S., Cardy, J. O., Weitzman, E., Cunningham, B. J. (2023). Families’ experiences in the virtual Hanen More Than Words program during the COVID-19 pandemic. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 32(2), 701–716.


This research was funded by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, awarded to Michelle Servais, Danielle Glista, Sheila Moodie, Janis Oram Cardy, and Barbara Jane Cunningham.