Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 44, Issue 11, pp 2769–2777 | Cite as

A Randomized Clinical Trial Comparison Between Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) and Structured Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Intervention for Children with Autism

  • Fereshteh Mohammadzaheri
  • Lynn Kern KoegelEmail author
  • Mohammad Rezaee
  • Seyed Majid Rafiee
Original Paper


Accumulating studies are documenting specific motivational variables that, when combined into a naturalistic teaching paradigm, can positively influence the effectiveness of interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The purpose of this study was to compare two applied behavior analysis (ABA) intervention procedures, a naturalistic approach, pivotal response treatment (PRT) with a structured ABA approach in a school setting. A randomized clinical trial design using two groups of children, matched according to age, sex and mean length of utterance was used to compare the interventions. The data showed that the PRT approach was significantly more effective in improving targeted and untargeted areas after 3 months of intervention. The results are discussed in terms of variables that produce more rapid improvements in communication for children with ASD.


Pragmatic skills Naturalistic approach Analog approach Autism Pivotal response treatment ABA 



This project was supported in part by the Zehne Ziba Rehabilitation Institute in Hamedan, Iran, and University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences in Tehran, Iran, and the National Institute of Health research grant (DC010924). We are grateful to the teachers and parents who completed the measures, and the children who participated in this research. Also, we would like to thank Diane Morovati and Robert L. Koegel for their feedback during the preparation of this manuscript. We would also like to thank the Broad Foundation, the Kind World Foundation, and the Douglas foundation for their support. In addition to being employed at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Dr. Lynn Kern Koegel is also a partner in the private firm, Koegel Autism Consultants.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fereshteh Mohammadzaheri
    • 1
  • Lynn Kern Koegel
    • 2
    Email author
  • Mohammad Rezaee
    • 1
  • Seyed Majid Rafiee
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Rehabilitation Sciences, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences and Health ServicesHamadanIran
  2. 2.CCS Psychology Department, Koegel Autism CenterUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Cognitive Science StudiesTehranIran

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