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 MODULE: Pivotal Response Training (PRT)

Who Can Use PRT and How Does It Work?

PRT was developed by behavioral psychologists and was first used in their individual therapy sessions. However, an important objective of PRT has been to provide a successful intervention approach for “a range of individuals who interact with learners with autism and other severe handicaps, and to provide treatment that is easy to implement and readily usable in community settings” (R. L. Koegel et al., 1989, p. 6). As the effectiveness of PRT became evident, parents were taught how to use PRT to foster their children’s learning throughout the day and across environments.

Parents’ ability to successfully implement PRT in the home and in the community has been demonstrated in a number of studies (Baker-Ericzen, Stahmer, & Burns, 2007; Schreibman & Koegel, 2005; Stahmer & Gist, 2001). Peers and siblings also can use PRT strategies to increase communication and social interaction during activities (Pierce & Schreibman, 1997b). Thus, PRT is a technique that a wide range of individuals can use, including family members and school staff, as well as individual therapists and consultants (e.g., speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists). 

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