Pivotal Response Treatment Parent Training for Autism: Findings from a 3-Month Follow-Up Evaluation

Abstract

This study’s objective was to assess maintenance of treatment effects 3 months after completion of a 12-week Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) parent education group. Families who completed the active treatment (N = 23) were followed for an additional 12 weeks to measure changes in language and cognitive skills. Results indicated a significant improvement in frequency of functional utterances, with maintenance at 3-month follow-up [F(2, 21): 5.9, p = .009]. Children also made significant gains on the Vineland Communication Domain Standard Score [F(2, 12):11.74, p = .001] and the Mullen Scales of Early Learning Composite score [F(1, 20) = 5.43, p = .03]. These results suggest that a brief PRT parent group intervention can lead to improvements in language and cognitive functioning that are maintained 12 weeks post treatment.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by an Autism Speaks Treatment Grant (#5773; PI: Hardan); the foundation was not involved in the trial. Data management was supported by the National Center for Research Resources and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through grant UL1 RR025744. We would like to thank Robin Libove and Christina Ardel for their assistance with this research. We also would like to gratefully acknowledge the families for their participation.

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

This study was approved by the appropriate ethics committee and was performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. All persons gave their informed consent prior to their inclusion in the study.

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Correspondence to Grace W. Gengoux.

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Gengoux, G.W., Berquist, K.L., Salzman, E. et al. Pivotal Response Treatment Parent Training for Autism: Findings from a 3-Month Follow-Up Evaluation. J Autism Dev Disord 45, 2889–2898 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-015-2452-3

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Keywords

  • Language deficits
  • Group parent training
  • Social communication
  • Cognitive development
  • Naturalistic developmental behavioral intervention