A Center Based Study of Pivotal Response Treatment for Preschoolers With Autism


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Trial ID: NCT03778827


The purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness of pivotal response training (PRT) in an intensive center-based environment to treat social communication deficits in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Official Title

A Center Based Randomized Controlled Trial of Pivotal Response Treatment for Preschoolers With Autism

Stanford Investigator(s)

Antonio Hardan, M.D.
Antonio Hardan, M.D.

Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


Inclusion Criteria:

* Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) based on clinical interview and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition (DSM-5) and confirmed using the Autism Diagnostic Interview Revised (ADI-R) and Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, 2nd edition (ADOS-2) or Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS-2); Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition (DSM-5), and expert clinical opinion
* Boys and girls between 2 years and 3 years and 11 months
* Ability to participate in the testing procedures to the extent that valid standard scores can be obtained
* Stable treatment (e.g., applied behavior analysis (ABA), speech therapy, psychotropic medication(s) or biomedical intervention(s) for at least 1 month prior to baseline measurements with no anticipated changes during study participation
* Developmentally delayed with Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL) or Developmental Profile (DP-4) composite score below 85 (1 Standard Deviation below the mean)
* Availability of at least one English-speaking parent who can consistently participate in parent training and research measures.

Exclusion Criteria:

* Current or lifetime diagnosis of severe psychiatric disorder (e.g., bipolar disorder, etc.)
* Presence of active medical problem (e.g., unstable seizure disorder or heart disease)
* Child primary language other than English
* Previous adequate trial of Pivotal Response Treatment
* More than 15 hours per week of in-home applied behavior analysis (ABA).


behavioral: Intensive Center-Based Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT-C)


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Contact Information

Stanford University
School of Medicine
300 Pasteur Drive
Stanford, CA 94305
Madeleine Clark, BS