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Minjarez M.B.,Seattle Childrens Hospital Seattle Childrens Research Institute | Mercier E.M.,Durham University | Williams S.E.,Stanford University | Hardan A.Y.,Stanford University
Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions | Year: 2013

Parents of children with autism are increasingly being considered as primary agents of intervention for their children. The goal of this study was to evaluate whether participating in a pivotal response training (PRT) group therapy program for parents of children with autism influenced related aspects of parents' lives, namely, their levels of stress and empowerment. Seventeen families participated in a 10-week therapy group designed to train parents to use PRT, with a specific focus on their children's language deficits. Measures of empowerment and stress were obtained at baseline and at the end of the trial. Ratings on the Parenting Stress Index/Short Form and the Family Empowerment Scale showed significant changes from pre- to posttreatment, indicating that parents felt higher levels of empowerment and lower levels of stress after the 10-week group program. Notably, stress related to parent-child interactions was most reduced. Possible causal factors and implications are discussed. © 2012 Hammill Institute on Disabilities.

PubMed | Stanford University, Seattle Childrens Hospital Seattle Childrens Research Institute and Cleveland Clinic
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines | Year: 2015

With rates of autism diagnosis continuing to rise, there is an urgent need for effective and efficient service delivery models. Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) is considered an established treatment for autism spectrum disorder (ASD); however, there have been few well-controlled studies with adequate sample size. The aim of this study was to conduct a randomized controlled trial to evaluate PRT parent training group (PRTG) for targeting language deficits in young children with ASD.Fifty-three children with autism and significant language delay between 2 and 6years old were randomized to PRTG (N=27) or psychoeducation group (PEG; N=26) for 12weeks. The PRTG taught parents behavioral techniques to facilitate language development. The PEG taught general information about ASD (clinical trial NCT01881750; http://www.clinicaltrials.gov).Analysis of child utterances during the structured laboratory observation (primary outcome) indicated that, compared with children in the PEG, children in the PRTG demonstrated greater improvement in frequency of utterances (F(2, 43)=3.53, p=.038, d=0.42). Results indicated that parents were able to learn PRT in a group format, as the majority of parents in the PRTG (84%) met fidelity of implementation criteria after 12weeks. Children also demonstrated greater improvement in adaptive communication skills (Vineland-II) following PRTG and baseline Mullen visual reception scores predicted treatment response to PRTG.This is the first randomized controlled trial of group-delivered PRT and one of the largest experimental investigations of the PRT model to date. The findings suggest that specific instruction in PRT results in greater skill acquisition for both parents and children, especially in functional and adaptive communication skills. Further research in PRT is warranted to replicate the observed results and address other core ASD symptoms.

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