Parents of children with autism spectrum disorders may not attempt treatment, even when effective treatment options are available. Little is known about how to improve frequency of attempts to implement treatment (‘treatment adherence’). We provided 32 rural parents of young children with autism spectrum disorders with either written or video training materials about how to implement discrete-trial instruction and compared parental adherence between the written (control) and video (experimental) groups. Parents who received video instructions adhered to the training procedures to a significantly greater extent than did parents who received written instructions, suggesting that instruction format is a predictor of training success. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.