Pivotal Response Training Resource for Teachers

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Pivotal Response Training

PRT - Pivotal Response Training (Treatment/Therapy)
PRT is based on natural learning method which can be used to teach quickly and effectively social spoken language to children with autism. PRT was developed by Robert and Lynn Koegel in the 1980s at the University of California. PRT emerged from natural language paradigm. It makes use of the child's intrinsic motivation, cheerfulness, playfulness, and curiosity. Learning is supported with reinforcement methods (reinforcing attempts, direct reinforcement and immediate reinforcement). Pivotal Response Treatment uses both a developmental approach and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) procedures (Koegel, Openden, Fredeen, & Koegel, 2006, 4).

Principles of PRT

Child's attention and excitement

The person, who is observed, must have the child’s attention before presenting opportunity to communicate (Koegel, Sze, Mossman, Koegel & Brookman-Frazee 2006, 163). In PRT, what is observed, is the person working with the child and his/her interaction with the child.

Child's choice

For the most part the person being observed should follow the child's choice of tasks and activities. However, the person being observed must take control if the child pursues a dangerous activity (e.g. self-injury) or inappropriate activities to the situation (e.g. self-stimulation).  If the child does not show any interest to the current task, it should be changed. (Koegel, Sze, Mossman, Koegel & Brookman-Frazee 2006, 163.)

Clear and appropriate prompts

The question, instruction or opportunity in which the child should respond, must be clear and suitable for the task (Koegel, Sze, Mossman, Koegel & Brookman-Frazee 2006, 163). In the beginning of communication training the prompts are individual words that can be used in different situations (e.g. ball).

Maintenance tasks

Among the tasks should intersperse maintenance tasks (those that the child already knows how to make) with acquisition (new) tasks (Koegel, Sze, Mossman, Koegel & Brookman-Frazee 2006, 163).

Multiple cues

If the child's development level is adequate, should questions or instructions, include the use of multiple cues (e.g. asking the child whether he/she wants the blue ball or the red ball) (Koegel, Sze, Mossman, Koegel & Brookman-Frazee 2006, 163).

Reinforcing attempts

All coal-directed attempts of the child to answer the questions, instructions or opportunities, should be reinforced. The attempt don’t have to be necessarily correct, but it should be reasonable. (Koegel, Sze, Mossman, Koegel & Brookman-Frazee 2006, 163.)

Direct reinforcement

Reinforcement should be natural or directly proportional to the desired behavior (Koegel, Sze, Mossman, Koegel & Brookman-Frazee 2006, 163). For example if the child's wishes the ball for himself, he says "ball" and the ball plays the role of reinforcement.

Immediate Reinforcement

Reinforcement should immediately follow the child’s communication or operation attempt.