The most common types of therapy treatment for autism are based upon the principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis. One type of ABA therapy for children is pivotal response training. PRT can increase communication abilities and provide a positive reinforcement environment. This type of treatment is considered a kind of play-based therapy.
Pivotal Response Treatment is a type of early intervention that builds skills in several key pivotal areas. A psychologist or speech therapist can administer this type of therapy, either in a school setting or in private sessions. Special education teachers can also integrate PRT therapy. Instead of focusing on specific behavioral changes, the therapist helps the child achieve milestones in these key pivotal areas. There are four main pivotal areas in PRT therapy.
● Multiple-cue response
● Social interaction initiation
Although pivotal response treatment is customized to fit the needs of each child, the basic premise of the therapy is the same for all individuals. Ideally, at least 25 hours of therapy should occur per week. The sessions build upon one another, leading to more advanced skills and progress. In an ideal situation, the principles of the therapy are carried through to everyday life, including interactions at home with the family.
During each session, one or more of the skills that help the child reach pivotal area milestones are addressed. These skills typically include verbal and non-verbal language, social skill development, and directed or undirected play. These interactions are sometimes structured but are child-led and can involve unstructured play.
In contrast to other types of therapy that focus on a specific skill set or behavior modification, the goal of pivotal response treatment is to increase the broad skills in key pivotal areas. Children with autism often need help developing social and communication skills, so the PRT intervention model focuses on teaching children these skills through play. Since children with autism spectrum disorder often engage in self-stimulatory behaviors, another goal of PRT therapy is to help the child find relief from these behaviors if they have become disruptive.
Different types of Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy are commonly practiced as a treatment for autism spectrum disorders. Using ABA principles, pivotal response intervention has emerged as a strong tool for developing social and language skills since it targets pivotal areas of development. Focusing on key communications allows speech therapists, psychologists, and other therapy professionals to help children with autism achieve better treatment outcomes. For more information about PRT therapy, contact the Applied Behavioral Science Institution with any questions.
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