Pivotal Response Treatment, or PRT, was developed by Dr. Robert L. Koegel, Dr. Lynn Kern Koegel and Dr. Laura Shreibman, at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Pivotal Response Treatment was previously called the Natural Language Paradigm (NLP), which has been in development since the 1970s. It is a behavioral intervention model based on the principles of ABA.
What is PRT?
PRT is used to teach language, decrease disruptive/self-stimulatory behaviors, and increase social, communication, and academic skills by focusing on critical, or "pivotal," behaviors that affect a wide range of behaviors. The primary pivotal behaviors are motivation and child's initiations of communications with others.
The goal of PRT is to produce positive changes in the pivotal behaviors, leading to improvement in communication skills, play skills, social behaviors and the child's ability to monitor his own behavior. Unlike the Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT) method of teaching, which targets individual behaviors, based on an established curriculum, PRT is child directed. Motivational strategies are used throughout intervention as often as possible. These include the variation of tasks, revisiting mastered tasks to ensure the child retains acquired skills, rewarding attempts, and the use of direct and natural reinforcement. The child plays a crucial role in determining the activities and objects that will be used in the PRT exchange. For example, a child's purposeful attempts at functional communication are rewarded with reinforcement related to their effort to communicate (for example, if a child attempts a request for a stuffed animal, the child receives the animal).
Who provides PRT?
Psychologists, special education teachers, speech therapists and other providers specifically trained in PRT. The KoegCertification program.
What is a typical PRT therapy session like?
Each program is tailored to meet the goals and needs of the child as well as family routines. A session typically involves six segments during which language, play and social skills are targeted in structured and unstructured formats. Sessions change to accommodate more advanced goals and the changing needs as the child develops.
What is the intensity of a PRT program?
PRT programs usually involve 25 or more hours per week. Everyone involved in the child's life is encouraged to use PRT methods consistently in every part of the child's life. PRT has been described as a lifestyle adopted by the affected family.