Pivotal Response Treatment and Autism Ranking: Strong positive evidence

Aims and Claims


According to the Autism Speaks website, accessed on 5 April 2016, the aims of pivotal response treatment,

“... include the development of communication, language and positive social behaviors and relief from disruptive self-stimulatory behaviors.

“Rather than target individual behaviors, the PRT therapist targets ‘pivotal’ areas of a child's development. These include motivation, response to multiple cues, self-management and the initiation of social interactions. The philosophy is that, by targeting these critical areas, PRT will produce broad improvements across other areas of sociability, communication, behavior and academic skill building.”


There have been various claims made for pivotal response treatment. For example, the Center for Autism Services Alberta website, accessed on 5 April 2016, claims,

“Evidence shows that PRT can result in the following:

• Increase in correct imitative utterances
• Increase in correct spontaneous language
• Increase in generalized spontaneous utterances
• Increase in generalization and maintenance of intervention gains
• Increase in positive child affect
• Lower percentages of disruptive behaviors
• Collateral gains in other often, untargeted behaviors”

19 Dec 2017
Last Review
01 Oct 2016
Next Review
01 Oct 2019