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 MODULE: Pivotal Response Training (PRT)

Overview of Pivotal Response Training

Pivotal Response Training (PRT) is a method of systematically applying the scientific principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) to teach learners with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). PRT builds on learner initiative and interests, and it is particularly effective for developing communication, language, play, and social behaviors. PRT was developed to create a more efficient and effective intervention by enhancing four pivotal learning variables: motivation, responsivity to multiple cues, self-management, and social initiations. According to theory, these skills are pivotal because they are the foundational skills upon which learners with ASD can make widespread and generalized improvements in many other areas. The PRT model has gained a strong foundation in empirically supported research over the past 25 years or more. The ultimate goal of PRT is “to provide individuals with autism with the social and educational proficiency to participate in enriched and meaningful lives in inclusive settings” (L. K. Koegel, Koegel, Harrower, & Carter, 1999, p.174).

This module will describe the fundamental principles of PRT, its conceptual framework, and how it can be implemented in a variety of settings with learners who display a range of ability levels and who have differing needs. Throughout the module, many terms are highlighted. Definitions of these terms may be found in the glossary.

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