Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT®) is a naturalistic intervention model derived from Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). PRT targets pivotal areas of child development, including motivation, responsivity to multiple cues, self-management, and social initiations. These skills are pivotal because they allow learners with ASD to make widespread collateral improvements in the domains of communication, socialization, and behavior. PRT increases children's motivation to engage and learn using research-based motivational procedures, such as child choice, task variation, rewarding attempts, and use of direct, natural reinforcers. PRT empowers family members to implement interventions, with learning embedded across daily routines in the natural environment.
When children begin PRT intervention before the age of 5, 85%-90% develop verbal communication as a primary mode of communication. In addition, children with ASD demonstrate increased social initiations and toy play as well as decreased social avoidance and stereotypic language after receiving intervention. Over the past 30 years, over 200 articles on PRT have been published in peer-reviewed journals supporting its effectiveness. PRT is listed by the National Research Council as one of the ten model programs for autism and is one of four scientifically-based practices for ASD intervention in the U.S. (Simpson, 2005).
PRT intervention demonstrated by Dr. Lynn Koegel on the ABC TV show SuperNanny
Rex Lewis-Clack Interview on the Discovery Science Channel program Ingenious Minds
Temple Grandin Interview on the Discovery Science Channel program Ingenious Minds
For more information on PRT as an evidence-based practice:
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Autism Speaks is the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism, increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a comprehensive section on ASD, including information about screening and diagnosis, treatment options, data & statistics, research articles, and other free materials.