Hi, I'm Dr. Lynn Kern Koegel,
and I work at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
I'm going to be talking today about improving communication,
socialization, and academics using Pivotal Response Treatment.
Just to give you a little background, many years ago
(probably in the late 70s),
we were using a really structured format for teaching children with autism.
We had an empty room with no distractions,
and we'd have really structured flashcards and drilled the kids
until they reached a certain percentage before we moved on to the next target behavior.
The kids just weren't enjoying the intervention that much.
Also, a lot of the kids were remaining non-verbal their entire life.
So we decided to try to see if we could research
some components that might help them become more 'motivated'.
By motivated, I mean have their responsiveness higher,
have them smiling more,
more engaged, more correct answers.
We started out working with children that were either minimally verbal or nonverbal.
We experimented with a package of these motivational variables and
found that a lot more of the children were learning how to talk and learning first words,
so it was a big improvement over what we had had in the past.
In addition, we learned that the children
had lower levels of behaviors that interfered with learning,
disruptive behaviors and aggressive behaviors went down a lot.
Initially we called that the 'natural language-teaching
paradigm' (NLP) because it looked more like when you see
parents working with their neurotypical children, modeling these behaviors.
It didn't look so artificial like the way we were teaching children with autism.
That's been replicated in a number of studies that were
single-subject design and also randomized clinical trials.
Now I'll get to a few of the variables that
really make a difference in motivating the children.