Information for Parents

PACT is a parent/carer-led video feedback intervention for children with social communication and language needs associated with autism (aged 2-10 years)

  1. What is PACT? PACT is a parent/carer-led video feedback intervention for children with social communication and language needs associated with autism (aged 2-10 years), from children who use a limited range of sentences to children who use few or no words. PACT connects professionals and parents/ carers in providing a focused communication intervention, using the knowledge and skills of adults who know the child best in partnership with therapists with specialist knowledge and skills in autism.The structured video feedback techniques help you recognise your child’s altered communication. A therapist works in partnership with you, supporting and empowering you with enhanced skills, helping to embed this into family life,  and create sustained change. Children are supported to develop their interaction and communication skills in their natural environment, which is an ideal way to ensure enduring benefits in social communication skills.The PACT Intervention has two phases:Phase 1: Parents/carers attend 1:1 therapy sessions, lasting approximately 1 ½ hours every 2 weeks for 6 months and undertake 30 minutes daily practice at home between the sessions (12 sessions over 6 months)

    Phase 2: Further monthly maintenance sessions are available to generalise the therapy goals into daily life/ routines and different contexts.

  2. Why PACT? Children with autism present with difficulties around communication and building social relationships, alongside repetitive behaviours and restricted interests. PACT is an intervention based on rigorous research, that demonstrated children who received PACT showed greater improvements in communication skills, with a reduction in the difficulties in social, communication, repetitive behaviours and restricted interests. This provides the potential to changes the lives of children with autism and as a result, have a positive impact on the lives of the whole family. The research also showed that these improvements were sustained over 6 years after the intervention was delivered.The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) have recommended PACT be included in NHS services.For further information about PACT evidence, please click here
  3. How does PACT work? PACT helps you understand how to communicate more effectively with your child. PACT helps you observe your child’s motivations, moments of pleasure and sharing, which may be missed in the fast pace of typical daily life interactions. By working in the child’s environment, PACT brings the best individual support and skills into the everyday lives of your child.You will learn individual strategies to develop your child’s social and communication responses, as well as using supportive language strategies while working through the PACT steps. You will work together with a PACT therapist to identify step by step goals following the PACT manual.By reviewing video clips, you will be supported to identify your child’s communication signals and moments of shared interaction. You will work with your therapist to learn how best to respond to your child in order to help your child initiate more interactions and increase your child’s social and language understanding, within daily routines.With time, PACT progresses to identify strategies to help your child develop their communication in a meaningful and functional way. For children who use spoken words, conversational skills will also be developed.
  4. How do I access PACT for my child? If you have a child aged 2-10 years of age who is showing social communication needs, signs of autism or has received a diagnosis of autism and has a range of language difficulties (from a child who uses a limited range of sentences to children with few or no words), you may ask your local NHS service if they include PACT in their social communication pathway. Alternatively, you may contact PACT trained professionals directly.
  5. How is PACT delivered?Firstly, your child may receive an assessment against which the therapist can measure later change. The therapist may complete an assessment of your child’s social and communication abilities, level of language, and learning ability.Before starting PACT, the therapist will offer an initial visit to discuss with you your child’s development and current strengths and needs. Your therapist will also ask you about your understanding of your child’s needs and your experience as parents and as a family.Within each session, the therapist will take a short video (around 10 minutes) of you and your child interacting or playing together. You will watch the video back together, then select and review video clips identifying and discussing with the PACT therapist the best individual communication strategies for your child. Your therapist will support you to identify positive moments and together discover what work best for your child.
  6. Where is PACT delivered?PACT can be delivered either in a clinic or in your home. The PACT team are also currently conducting further research to establish whether it would also be beneficial for the intervention to be delivered within your child’s educational setting as well.
  7. What is the time commitment?PACT sessions will last around 1 ½ hours and you will see your PACT practitioner for 12 sessions on a fortnightly basis. Between sessions, you will be asked to practice implementing PACT strategies with you child for around 30 minutes a day during play.
  8. Can my child receive PACT at the same time as other interventions?PACT works alongside other interventions. You may continue with health, education or social interventions and any support you receive from other local services whilst receiving PACT. PACT addresses the social communication needs, whereas other treatments may be needed to support other skills e.g. sleep, toileting, self-help skills, learning.
  9. What happens when we’ve completed PACT intervention?After the PACT intervention you may be offered some further maintenance PACT sessions and can continue with other treatment and care from health and education and other services.