Brief Report: A Pilot Online Pivotal Response Treatment Training Program for Parents of Toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Elizabeth McGarryEmail author
  • Ty Vernon
  • Anisha Baktha
Brief Report


Despite advances in evidence-based treatment for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), disparities in service access remain a serious concern. Current treatment models may not be feasible for families who live in remote geographical regions or have limited resources. To address this, studies have begun to explore parent-implemented interventions via an online format. The current study examined a new online course designed to help parents implement Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) for their toddler with ASD. Parents submitted videos of parent–child interactions which were coded for fidelity of implementation (FOI) and social communicative behaviors. The data indicate that PRT fidelity and child behaviors significantly improved following course participation. This suggests that an online intervention may be a feasible approach to disseminating PRT strategies.


Autism spectrum disorder Parent-implemented intervention Pivotal response treatment Online training Telehealth 



The authors would like to acknowledge all of the families who participated in this research, along with all of the research assistants that made this project possible.

Author Contributions

EM and TV jointly developed the online PRT training program. AB served as a lead research assistant on this project and assisted with data input, organization, and analysis. All authors contributed to the manuscript drafting and revision process.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Koegel Autism Center, Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology, Gevirtz Graduate School of EducationUniversity of California Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraUSA

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