Brief Training in Pivotal Response Treatment for Parents of Children Newly Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder
IWK Health Centre
Early diagnosis and early treatment for autism spectrum disorders is critical to ensuring the best outcome for children with this potentially devastating disorder. A key to making early treatment available to families of different means and treatment access is to provide a treatment that is easy and inexpensive to implement. One treatment that shows promise is Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT), which targets the development of social-communication and other functional skills. Treatment outcome research has found that PRT is effective at promoting language development, increasing socialization and decreasing disruptive behaviors in children with autism. This study will evaluate whether training parents in PRT can be an effective line of treatment for children newly diagnosed with autism who are awaiting, or unable to access, more comprehensive treatment. Participating parents will receive three two-hour sessions of intensive individual training in PRT techniques. Ms. Coolican will evaluate the intervention at the end of the training period and again three months post-training. The study will measure treatment outcome through parent reports and direct observation of child communication skills, positive affect and disruptive behaviors, and will also evaluate whether the treatment has been implemented properly throughout the study period. What this means for people with autism: Evidence that brief parent training in PRT is effective promises to provide an immediate, cost-effective intervention that could be adopted widely in rural and urban centers alike, and extended to others involved in the care and education of children with autism, including teachers and childcare providers.