One Therapy Bests Others at Motivating Kids With Autism to Speak, Study Finds

Posted on August 16, 2019

Parental instincts to engage children with autism may not work, as these children are often less able to express themselves in ways that their parents can understand. As such, many children with autism are not as motivated as other children to socialize.

Pivotal response treatment (PRT), with the involvement of parents, has been found to be an effective form of intervention that helps children with autism learn to communicate with others better. In this treatment, parents are taught to create situations in which their children are stimulated to converse. As a result, PRT was not only able to enhance the communication abilities of children, but improve their social skills as well.

A 6-month study was conducted with 48 children with autism and speech delays from 2 to 5 years old. The participants were split into 2 groups – one group underwent the PRT, while the other group continued with the treatments they subscribed to before the study.

Children who are in the PRT group attended 10 hours of treatment sessions every week during the first 12 weeks of the research. For the second half of the study, children in the PRT group went through 5 hours of therapy a week, and their parents were given monthly instructions on how to help improve their children’s language abilities.

Techniques taught to parents helped to sustain conversations and foster better understanding between parent and child. At the end of the study, children in the PRT group were able to speak in ways that others could comprehend and learned to express themselves better compared to children in the other group. Overall, this study shows that parents are important figures in the lives of children with autism and could potentially help them overcome social difficulties.

Category(s):Autism spectrum disorders, Pivotal Response Treatment

Source material from Science Daily

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