General Information

The UCSB Koegel Autism Center uses an intervention called Pivotal Response Treatment®, or PRT® .

Of the many treatment programs for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Pivotal Response Treatment® is one of the few that is both comprehensive (as listed by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences) and empirically supported (as recognized by the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders and the National Standards Project).

Pivotal Response Treatment® is a naturalistic intervention model derived from ABA approaches. Rather than target individual behaviors one at a time, PRT® targets pivotal areas of a child's development, such as motivation, responsivity to multiple cues, self-management, and social initiations. By targeting these critical areas, PRT® results in widespread, collateral improvements in other social, communicative, and behavioral areas that are not specifically targeted.

The underlying motivational strategies of PRT® are incorporated throughout intervention as often as possible. These include child choice, task variation, interspersing maintenance tasks, rewarding attempts, and the use of direct and natural reinforcers. The child plays a crucial role in determining the activities and objects that will be used in the PRT® exchange. Intentful attempts at the target behavior are rewarded with a natural reinforcer (e.g, if a child attempts a request for a stuffed animal, the child receives the animal, not a piece of candy or other unrelated reinforcer). Pivotal Response Treatment® is used to teach language, decrease disruptive/self-stimulatory behaviors, and increase social, communication, and academic skills.

In the past, Pivotal Response Treatment® has been referred to as Pivotal Response Training®, Pivotal Response Teaching®, Pivotal Response Therapy®, Pivotal Response Intervention®, and the Natural Language Paradigm (NLP). These terms all indicate the same treatment delivery system, most commonly known as Pivotal Response Treatment®.

Additional information on PRT® as an evidence-based practice and PRT® empirical research support can be found at the following links:

Empirical Support for PRT- Extended Version

Summary Chart of Empirical Support for PRT

*These empirical articles are a sampling of those that specifically evaluate PRT/NLP.
Please email for a copy of any of these articles.*