What is PACT?
Paediatric Autism Communication Therapy (PACT) is an evidence- based intervention in which therapists work with parents/carers to understand their autistic child and how they interact, and become more conscious and aware of the ways in which they can best support their child’s communication and interaction. It is a video-feedback model that supports parents/carers, rather than working directly with their child. The effects of undergoing PACT intervention are far-reaching, as parents/carers learn to internalise the strategies they develop over time and embed them into their daily lives. PACT is a relationship-based, developmental approach that is based on decades of research into natural communication development. Studies into the long-term effects of PACT, when provided to the parents/carers of preschool-aged children, have demonstrated that communication development is sustained over long periods of time (six years after the end of PACT intervention). PACT has also been used with the parents/carers of autistic children aged up to 10. PACT is a partnership between professionals and parents/carers. It empowers parents/carers through enhancing the knowledge and skills of those who know their child best, through working with professionals who have specialist knowledge and skills in autism.
How is PACT delivered?
Before starting PACT, the therapist will offer an initial meeting to discuss your child’s development and current strengths and needs. They will also ask about your experience as a family. Therapy with Spectrum Connection CIC takes place online, and you will record a short video (around 10 minutes) of you and your child interacting or playing together that you will then send to your therapist. You then watch the video back together with the therapist, selecting and reviewing video clips to identify and discuss the best individual communication strategies for your child. The therapist will support you to identify positive moments, and together discover what is likely to work best for your child. You will then make goals based on the conversations you have, and you will then practice these goals for 30 minutes per day.
Where is PACT delivered?
Through Spectrum Connection CIC, PACT is delivered online to parents and carers. We also provide PACT for nursery and preschool settings for an individual child.
What kind of intervention is PACT?
PACT is a naturalistic, relationship-based, developmental intervention. The board of Spectrum Connection CIC is made up of autistic adults and allies, and we do not support the use of behavioural interventions such as ABA.
What is the time committment?
PACT sessions will last one hour, and you will see your PACT therapist for 12 sessions every two weeks for six months. Between sessions, you will be asked to practice your PACT strategies with your child for around 30 minutes a day during play. After the main PACT intervention, you may be offered further optional maintenance PACT sessions on a monthly basis, to enable you to continue generalising the communication techniques you have learned in your daily lives.
Can my child receive PACT at the same time as other interventions?
Yes, 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 social communication needs and other support may be needed to develop other skills. The board of Spectrum Connection CIC is made up of autistic adults and allies. We do not support behaviour-based intervention such as ABA.
How much does PACT cost?
As a not-for-profit service, we provide therapy on a sliding scale, from £45-90 per session, based on income and personal circumstances. The recommended cost for PACT is £90-120 per session, so this is a significant cost reduction. As we have recently received funding from the National Lottery Community Fund, we are now able to offer therapy for free for 8 families in Greater Manchester who are on a lower income (please click here for more information regarding this). We continue to apply for grant funding to provide PACT for free to those who need it. Contact us to discuss this further.
Other resources about PACT:
- You can see our videos about PACT intervention here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMo6ZO4wtbnHwmX6icbzxfg
- More in-depth information on PACT, including interviews, videos and details of the research evidence can be found at research.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/pact
- For the charity Autistica’s Evidence Summary of parent-led video interventions – autistica.org.uk/ downloads/files/Autistica-evidence-summary-Parent-led-video-feedback-therapy-4.pdf
Information adapted from Hogrefe: Paediatric Autism Communication Therapy – Information for Parents and Carers