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Abstract

Parents of Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) often experience stress, and the COVID-19 pandemic has likely increased their stress. In the current paper, we describe four things. First, we describe how mental telehealth treatments can effectively decrease parent stress, including programs that target behavior training and those that provide therapy. Teleheath programs are delivered by phone, computer, or fully online. Second, we describe challenges of these programs and explain how online, self-guided programs may help address these challenges. Third, we explain our online, self-guided program based in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT is a specific type of therapy that helps people notice their moods and their thoughts to help manage stress. Finally, we conclude by proposing a call for collaboration to improve and expand our online, self-guided, ACT program.

Plain Language Summary

Parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) often experience stress. The COVID-19 pandemic has likely increased parents’ stress. In this paper, we describe four things. First, we describe how mental telehealth treatments can decrease parent stress. Telehealth programs are often delivered by phone or computer. These programs include those that target behavior training and those that provide therapy. Second, we describe challenges of these programs. Then we explain how online, self-guided programs may help address these challenges. Third, we explain our online, self-guided Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) program. ACT is a type of therapy that helps people notice their moods and their thoughts to help manage stress. Finally, we ask for collaboration to improve and expand our ACT program.

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