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Pivotal Response Training
Children and Students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

PRT was found to have no discernible effects on communication/language competencies for children and students with an autism spectrum disorder.
Pivotal response training (PRT) is an intervention designed for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. This practice focuses on pivotal (core) areas affected by autism, such as communication and responding to environmental stimuli. PRT sessions typically begin with a parent or teacher providing clear instructions to a child, having the child help choose a stimulus (such as a toy), and focusing the child’s attention. The parent or teacher then encourages the desired behavior (for example, asking for the toy or choosing “toy” from a list of words) by providing rewards if the child implements or attempts to implement the desired behavior. Parents and teachers often model the appropriate behavior or use the stimulus with the child. Activities that maintain existing behaviors are interspersed with activities eliciting new behaviors. The complexity of the required responses increases as training progresses. Parents, teachers, and peers collaboratively implement the practice at school, at home, and in the community. PRT can be used with autistic children aged 2–18. PRT is also known as Pivotal Response Therapy, Pivotal Response Treatment®, or Natural Language Paradigm.


studies that met standards out of
eligible studies reviewed
Effectiveness Rating Grades Evidence Tier
Communication/ Language No discernible effects PK

Last Updated: December 2016


Male: 80%
Female: 20%
Note: This summary only includes data from studies that reported sample information. The Intervention Report may include evidence from other studies that met standards, but did not report sample information.

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