According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2014) autism spectrum disorder is a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. Two of these challenges are decreased joint attention and decreased communication (Schertz & Odom, 2007; Coolican, Smith, & Bryson, 2010; Lord, et.al., 2000; Siller, & Sigman, 2002; Rocha, Schreibman, & Stahmer, 2007). Joint attention is defined as visually coordinating attention with a partner to an external focus, showing social engagement and an awareness of the partner’s mutual interest for the purpose of ‘‘commenting’’ rather than ‘‘requesting’’(Schertz & Odom, 2007). The CDC (2014) estimates that about 1 in 68 children has…show more content… According to Baker-Ericzén, Brookman-Frazee, and Stahmer (2006), parents of young children with developmental delays experience high levels of child-related stress than parents of children without delays. Mothers of children with autism report both high stress levels and lower parenting competency/confidence than mothers of children without disabilities (Baker-Ericzén, et. al., 2006).
By training parents to implement the intervention of pivotal response training, clinicians can increase parent competency/confidence/self-efficacy, decrease parent/caregiver stress, and increase joint attention and communication in children with autism spectrum disorders.
Pivotal Response Training (PRT) is a naturalistic, behavioral intervention approach developed by Drs. Robert L. Koegel & Laura Schreibman (Autism Intervention Research Program, 2009). According to the Autism Intervention Research Program (2009) PRT was developed to facilitate stimulus and response generalization, increase spontaneity, reduce prompt dependency, and increase motivation while still relying on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA). ABA uses antecedent stimuli and consequences, based on the findings of descriptive and functional analysis, to produce practical change in behavior. ABA focuses on explaining behavior in terms of external events that can be manipulated rather than internal constructs that are beyond a clinician’s control (Autism Intervention