Abstract This study evaluated the effects of a parent training program on the interactive skills of parents of children with autism in the People's Republic of China. Twenty-seven families of children with autism in a northeastern city of China were randomly assigned to either the training or the control group. Parents received a total of 20 h of training in a format that included both group and individual sessions. Parents’ interactive skills during free play with their children with autism were examined using videotaped observations at their homes and analyzed using the Maternal Behavior Rating Scales. One-way analysis of covariance indicated that following the training, parents in the training group, compared with those in the control group, were more sensitive to their children's interests, responded to their children's behavior more appropriately, were more accepting of their children and their behavior, showed more enjoyment of interacting with their children, and expressed more warmth toward their children throughout the free play interactions. More research is needed to investigate whether parental responsiveness and affect promote more active engagement by their children in their interactions.