PRT – Pivotal Response Training/Treatment

You are little curious about Gne’s explanation for PRT acronyms-> so you click on the link, and you are reading this post?

Well, Gne would not waste your time. Gne said PRT is Play, Response and Treat. However, it’s wrong in this situation. The original PRT for autism is Pivotal Response Training/ Treatment.

What is the original PRT vs Gne’s Play, Response and Treat?

Actually, Gne just said PRT in a different way. The Play, Response, and Treat’s easier to understand? Comparing with Pivotal Response Training/treatment…Gne understands it, but it’s little hard to remember. Even you and Gne, we can easy to remember the acronym PRT. Just 3 letters-> it’s easier to remember, right?

However, Gne former teacher said that if you want to use the acronym, then you better know the full text of that acronym-> so Gne just reserves a little bit with the PRT letters.

Can you speak loudly the full text of PRT?




You also can say Training -> it doesn’t matter much since it’s a program to help children with autism, so treatment or training is interchangeable

Now, can you remember it? Well, for me, Gne doesn’t remember the first letter “P” since the word “pivotal” is kind of new to Gne… As Gne googles it, the synonym is important, crucial, critique, etc.

It’s very obvious that “play” doesn’t involve “pivotal” at all, but why Gne changes into “play”? 😛 Please continue to read, you will find out soon at below.

Pivotal Response Training – PRT – is a contemporary naturalistic-behavioral intervention that applies principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) to build on learner initiative and interests, enhancing the pivotal learning variables: motivation, responding to multiple cues, self-management, and self-initiation of social interactions.

from Autism Society. 

Above is the PRT definition. By the way, if you don’t know what is the ABA, here is my old post about it. Once again, this PRT is one more product derived from ABA.

With ABA as the principal treatment for children associated with autism, we have some affiliated program following.


When can children with autism join this PRT?

There isn’t the specific period for PRT. However, this PRT is designed by Dr. Robert L. Koegel, Dr. Lynn Kern Koegel and Dr. Laura Shreibman at the
University of California at Santa Barbara. They share that PRT is one of the best studied and validated behavioral treatments for autism. Below is the video from them

Hmm…as you watch the video, Gne doesn’t need to tell you more since the author knows their PRT best. The video also is well presented.

Gne just share why Gne changes the letter “P”. Just treat it as a small quiz after watching the video, can you answer Gne question? Here is the question: Does “play” involved to the PRT? or in another hand, Play, Response and Treat vs Pivotal Response Treatment. Okay…the hint lays on those sentences 

Derived from ABA, it is play-based and child-initiated. Its goals include
the development of communication, language and positive social behaviors and relief from disruptive self-stimulatory behaviors.

It’s clearer, now? And you might wonder how? This video will explain for Gne instead

Can you see it? Gne’s Play, Response, and Treat is the basic thing what they do. Let’s summary a little bit. First, we approach the child with autism by presenting a gameplay. In this situation, it’s a toy. In the beginning, parents might worry and concern because the trainer uses the violence to the child. That’s why when parents sign up their children to the PRT program, the trainers are included parents training as well. And more than that, the trainers suggest that everyone who shares the connection, the tied with the child, they should join the PRT training as well. As you know the ASD is the lifetime disability, and this PRT follows the child life. There is a chance the PRT stops when the child doesn’t meet the DSM-5 criteria Autism Spectrum Disorder anymore or the financial status that can not afford to the clinic and center anymore (however, parents still can perform the PRT to the child as the parent’s training program along beside with the child.)

The default time engagement is about 25 hours per week. That’s the default at the clinic. Parents also can perform some hours at home-based too. This point is the common point with the pure ABA and the ESDM.

Second is the detailed example.  The first step is we should get attention from the child while he/she is playing. Just literally said that. In the reality, just play with the child. Play, Response, and treat. -> Let’s play with the child first, then we observe the child’s response. As the child is playing, we choose one toy that he/she is interesting-> use that toy to lure the child to make the eye contact with you.-> don’t be so sad when the child spent less than 5 seconds to make the eye contact with you. Just continue to grab another toy and lure it to you-> then, it’s time to say the word. In the video, when the trainer presents the square object, the fake flower into the child’s eyesight, the trainer speaks loud enough for the child to hear-> the trainer still hold the object until she receives the child’s response.

If the child’s response is correct and meaningful. In this situation, the desired and expected response is saying the word of that object. As the child repeats correctly, the trainer treats the child with that toy. At the first time try, you might not receive the positive result. -> just give one more try -> You can play “treat or trick” slogan in Halloween time.

However, you should design in the head that when we treat, when we trick. Be careful with the trick since the child response might be aggressive.

“The philosophy is that by targeting these areas such as motivation, response to multiple cues, self-management and the initiation of social interactions. PRT will produce broad improvements across other areas of sociability, communication, behavior and academic skill building.” And remember motivation strategy is the PRT’s heart.

Where can you find more info? the Koegel Autism center of course. 

  • For the participate opportunity to the online training
  • For parents and other adults involved training beside to the child PRT

The group is offered at no charge to families

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