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Pivotal Response Treatment for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

May 23, 2012 - October 1, 2026

The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) on language, social, and play skills development in children with ASD. The treatment is designed to improve social communication by teaching these skills within the context of natural environments. Furthermore, this study will be used to advance prior research by examining potential changes in the brain as a result of PRT treatment procedures.

What are the goals of the study?

Measure children’s brain activity as they are presented witThe Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) study is a behavioral intervention that focuses on enhancing expressive and receptive language, play, and social interaction for children ages 5-9 with ASD. PRT is individualized based on a child’s communication and social interaction skills and is intended to extend into natural home and school environments. Additionally, through EEG, eye tracking, and fMRI scans, this study examines PRT’s effects on brain regions involved in social perception.

What will happen during the visit or online?

Participants receive an evaluation and 16 weeks of Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT). The study requires the child to complete a fMRI, Eye-Tracking, and EEG before and after completing PRT. Treatment sessions last 1.5 hours and take place three times a week at the Yale Child Study Center. In addition, 1.5 hours of parent training will be provided per week to assist parents in facilitating their children’s use of functional communication in their daily routines and environments. These sessions are play-based, and we select activities to match your child’s interests while working on social engagement and communication skills.

How will this help families?

PRT aims to teach parents strategies for supporting their child’s increased social communication skills across home and community contexts. In addition, participation in this study may help us to better understand the effects of treatments for ASD and assist investigators in developing treatments for children with ASD.

Eligibility Criteria

1. Children ages 5-9 with ASD
2. IQ above 65
3. Successfully complete fMRI, EEG, and Eye-Tracking Scan
4. English is a language spoken in the family

View the study flyer here.

Contact Information
Research Study Website
Yale Child Study Center

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