Brief Report: Reduced Restricted and Repetitive Behaviors after Pivotal Response Treatment

Children with ASD show high frequency of restricted and repetitive behaviors (RRBs); however, higher-order RRBs, such as restricted interests, have remained largely resistant to treatment. This study evaluated change in severity of RRBs following a 16-weeks open trial of Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT). Participants included 15 children with ASD ages 4-7 years. RRBs, as measured by the repetitive behavioral scales-revised (RBS-R) and aberrant behaviors checklist, decreased significantly after treatment. These reductions remained significant after controlling for change in social communication skills. PRT shows promise in reducing RRBs; although PRT explicitly addresses pivotal social communication skills, there is a secondary and less direct effect on RRBs.

Keywords: Behavior therapy; Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT); Repetitive Behavior Scale-Revised (RBS-R); Restricted and repetitive behaviors.