Pivotal Response Training For Children With Autism

Pivotal Response Training for Children with Autism

What is Pivotal Response Training (PRT)?

Pivotal Response Training, or PRT, is “a behavioral treatment intervention based on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and derived from the work of Koegel, Schreibman, Dunlap, Horner, and other researcher (a)” PRT is an intervention technique often used with autistic children to help develop the “pivotal” skills for a person to function. PRT is based on research on “task interspersal, direct reinforcement, and role of choice (b).” This approach to teaching autistic children has been most successful at developing language, play and social interaction skills.

The pivotal behaviors includes(c):
- Responsivity to multiple cues
- Motivation to initiate and respond appropriately to social and environmental stimuli
- Self-direction of behavior including self-management and self-initiation of behavior.

Main Components of PRT(d)
• Choice (Shared control to increase motivation)
• Clear and uninterrupted instructions or opportunities (make sure child is attending)
• Reinforcement of approximations/attempts
• Reinforcement has a specific relationship to the desired behavior natural reinforcement (“ball” gets ball, not praise. Child chooses object for instruction and that object is used. This is done to increase motivation)
• Multiple examples of multiple components presented (e.g., use two different objects but same verb such as “roll car” and then “roll ball” then “throw ball.” Multiple components also means using “new pants” or “red suit” versus just “pants” or “suit.” This is done ton increase responsiveness to multiple cues. (http://www.spectrumcenter.org/autismplanning.html)

Does Pivotal Response Training Work?

“A criticism leveled at many of the available intervention programs for autistic children is the lack of randomized trials with adequate longitudinal follow-up data. Although each of the components of the Pivotal Response intervention model has been extensively tested, there are no randomized trials comparing PRT to any other intervention model. The only published follow-up study of PRT was done retrospectively(e).” With that said, there is still substantial evidence showing that these interventions have positive effects on the development of autistic children.

A Real Application of PRT—Autistic Children and Computers

Visit this link for information and steps on how to use computers to develop pivotal life skills for children with autism.[ http://www.superkids.com/aweb/pages/features/pdd/ ]

(a), (b), (d): Midland County Educational Service Agency Education “Excellerated”. http://mcesa.k12.mi.us/Documents/AI%20Tip%20sheets/Pivotal%20Response%20Training.pdf. July 16, 2007.

(c), (e) Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Online. http://www.dbpeds.org/articles/detail.cfm?TextID=229. July 16, 2007.

Page provided by Najla Husseini