Group Classes for Parents Yield Gains for Children
By Chelsea E. Toledo, M.A. on November 25, 2014
Background: Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) is a child-led, play-based intervention intended to address target—or “pivotal”—areas of a child’s development, including motivation and initiation of social interactions. By focusing on these areas, PRT aims to induce broad social, behavioral, and communicative improvements in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
What’s new: On October 27, 2014, the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry published the first-ever randomized controlled trial evaluating the effectiveness of PRT when administered by parents undergoing group training to deliver the intervention. A total of 53 children with ASD—aged two to six—participated in the study. Over the course of twelve weeks, parents of 27 children underwent group training to administer PRT in their homes, while the parents of the remaining 26 learned general information about ASD. Laboratory observations showed significant improvement in the number of utterances—such as saying “ball” to receive a ball—by children whose parents underwent PRT training.
Why it’s important: This study suggests that parents can become effective administrators of PRT after undergoing group classes—an efficient medium for disseminating information to a large number of affected families. Future studies could better examine PRT impact on social skills and determine the ideal balance of clinical interventions and at-home therapy.
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