Pivotal Response Treatment for Infants At-Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Pilot Study.

Yale Child Study Center, 40 Temple Street, New Haven, CT, 06510, USA, .
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.06). 05/2012; DOI: 10.1007/s10803-012-1542-8
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Presently there is limited research to suggest efficacious interventions for infants at-risk for autism. Pivotal response treatment (PRT) has empirical support for use with preschool children with autism, but there are no reports in the literature utilizing this approach with infants. In the current study, a developmental adaptation of PRT was piloted via a brief parent training model with three infants at-risk for autism. Utilizing a multiple baseline design, the data suggest that the introduction of PRT resulted in increases in the infants' frequency of functional communication and parents' fidelity of implementation of PRT procedures. Results provide preliminary support for the feasibility and utility of PRT for very young children at-risk for autism.

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    ABSTRACT: Summary Background Risk markers for later autism identified in the first year of life present plausible intervention targets during early development. We aimed to assess the effect of a parent-mediated intervention for infants at high risk of autism on these markers. Methods We did a two-site, two-arm assessor-blinded randomised controlled trial of families with an infant at familial high risk of autism aged 7–10 months, testing the adapted Video Interaction to Promote Positive Parenting (iBASIS-VIPP) versus no intervention. Families were randomly assigned to intervention or no intervention groups using a permuted block approach stratified by centre. Assessors, but not families or therapists, were masked to group assignment. The primary outcome was infant attentiveness to parent. Regression analysis was done on an intention-to-treat basis. This trial is registered with ISCRTN Registry, number ISRCTN87373263. Findings We randomly assigned 54 families between April 11, 2011, and Dec 4, 2012 (28 to intervention, 26 to no intervention). Although CIs sometimes include the null, point estimates suggest that the intervention increased the primary outcome of infant attentiveness to parent (effect size 0·29, 95% CI −0·26 to 0·86, thus including possibilities ranging from a small negative treatment effect to a strongly positive treatment effect). For secondary outcomes, the intervention reduced autism-risk behaviours (0·50, CI −0·15 to 1·08), increased parental non-directiveness (0·81, 0·28 to 1·52), improved attention disengagement (0·48, −0·01 to 1·02), and improved parent-rated infant adaptive function (χ2[2] 15·39, p=0·0005). There was a possibility of nil or negative effect in language and responsivity to vowel change (P1: ES–0·62, CI −2·42 to 0·31; P2: −0·29, −1·55 to 0·71). Interpretation With the exception of the response to vowel change, our study showed positive estimates across a wide range of behavioural and brain function risk-markers and developmental outcomes that are consistent with a moderate intervention effect to reduce the risk for later autism. However, the estimates have wide CIs that include possible nil or small negative effects. The results are encouraging for development and prevention science, but need larger-scale replication to improve precision. Funding Autistica, Waterloo Foundation, Autism Speaks, and the UK Medical Research Council.
    The Lancet Psychiatry 01/2015; DOI:10.1016/S2215-0366(14)00091-1
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    ABSTRACT: There is a growing literature on children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who respond favorably to behavioral treatment, which is often termed "optimal outcome." Rates and definitions of optimal outcome vary widely. The current case series describes an empirically validated behavioral treatment approach called Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT). We present two preschool-aged children who received an intensive course of PRT and seem to be on a trajectory toward potential optimal outcome. Understanding response to treatment and predictors of response is crucial, not necessarily to predict who may succeed, but to individualize medicine and match children with customized treatment programs that will be best tailored to their unique and varied needs.
    The Yale journal of biology and medicine 03/2015; 88(1):37-44.
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the mechanisms by which Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) improves social communication in a case series of 10 preschool-aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) identified brain responses during a biological motion perception task conducted prior to and following 16 weeks of PRT treatment. Overall, the neural systems supporting social perception in these 10 children were malleable through implementation of PRT; following treatment, neural responses were more similar to those of typically developing children (TD). However, at baseline, half of the children exhibited hypoactivation, relative to a group of TD children, in the right posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS), and half exhibited hyperactivation in this region. Strikingly, the groups exhibited differential neural responses to treatment: The five children who exhibited hypoactivation at baseline evidenced increased activation in components of the reward system including the ventral striatum and putamen. The five children who exhibited hyperactivation at baseline evidenced decreased activation in subcortical regions critical for regulating the flow of stimulation and conveying signals of salience to the cortex-the thalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus. Our results support further investigation into the differential effects of particular treatment strategies relative to specific neural targets. Identification of treatment strategies that address the patterns of neural vulnerability unique to each patient is consistent with the priority of creating individually tailored interventions customized to the behavioral and neural characteristics of a given person.
    Brain Imaging and Behavior 11/2014; DOI:10.1007/s11682-014-9331-y · 3.39 Impact Factor