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Pivotal Response Treatment Therapy Programme

Building happier, healthier, and more independent lives for children on the autism spectrum.

Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT)

Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) is a highly acclaimed behavioural therapy for children on the autism spectrum, originating from America. PRT targets children's "pivotal areas" of behaviour and motivation, and its primary goals are to help improve a child's social communication and language skills. Some recent research also show PRT can help reduce disruptive behaviours, as well as anxiety. PRT is one of the few evidence-based behavioural interventions for autism.

You can find out more about PRT by reading the following links:

What is Pivotal Response Treatment?
About PRT

How is PRT different from Applied Behaviour Analysis?

Although PRT was developed from Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) principles, PRT differs from ABA by being much more child-driven, more engaging and fun for the child to learn, and the skills gained from PRT are more easily translatable across multiple contexts. We use activities that the child finds enjoyable (e.g. board games, toys) to motivate their ability to socially engage with others. PRT values each child's unique strengths and interests. Our PRT programme engages your child's motivation by using games and activities tailored to his or her interests, and use that motivation to help them focus on learning how to socially interact and communicate with other people.

We understand that your child is working hard towards their goals, but often needs more than one attempt. PRT values every attempt your child makes, to ensure they stay motivated to reach their target every step of the way.

Clinical results

PRT primarily targets the child's social communication skills (1) in reductions in both restrictive and repetitive behaviour (5) . Research studies from leading institutions (including Yale and Stanford), have identified positive neurobiological changes in children over the course of PRT (2) (3) (4) . In addition, recent clinical trials have found co-occurring (5) and anxiety (6) in children who have completed robust PRT programmes.

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1. Koegel LK, Ashbaugh K, Koegel RL. Pivotal response treatment. In: Lang R, Hancock TB, Singh NN, editors. Early Intervention for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Evidence-Based Practices in Behavioral Health) Basel: Springer International Publishing; 2016. pp. 85–112. [cited September 15, 2016] Available from: link .

2. Voos AC, Pelphrey KA, Tirrell J, et al. Neural mechanisms of improvements in social motivation after pivotal response treatment: two case studies. J Autism Dev Disord. 2013;43(1):1–10. Available from: link

3. Ventola P, Yang DY, Friedman HE, et al. Heterogeneity of neural mechanisms of response to pivotal response treatment. Brain Imaging Behav. 2015;9(1):74–88. Available from: link

4. Lei, J., & Ventola, P. (2017). Pivotal response treatment for autism spectrum disorder: current perspectives. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 13, 1613–1626. link

5. Ventola PE, Yang D, Abdullahi SM, Paisley CA, Braconnier ML, Sukhodolsky DG. Brief report: reduced restricted and repetitive behaviors after pivotal response treatment. J Autism Dev Disord. 2016;46(8):2813–2820. Available from: link

6. Lei, J., Sukhodolsky, D. G., Abdullahi, S. M., Braconnier, M. L., & Ventola, P. (2017). Reduced anxiety following pivotal response treatment in young children with autism spectrum disorder. Research in autism spectrum disorders, 43, 1-7. Available from: link

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