Brief Report: Reduced Restricted and Repetitive Behaviors after Pivotal Response Treatment

J Autism Dev Disord. 2016 Aug;46(8):2813-2820. doi: 10.1007/s10803-016-2813-6.


Children with ASD show high frequency of restricted and repetitive behaviors (RRBs); however, higher-order RRBs, such as restricted interests, have remained largely resistant to treatment. This study evaluated change in severity of RRBs following a 16-weeks open trial of Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT). Participants included 15 children with ASD ages 4-7 years. RRBs, as measured by the repetitive behavioral scales-revised (RBS-R) and aberrant behaviors checklist, decreased significantly after treatment. These reductions remained significant after controlling for change in social communication skills. PRT shows promise in reducing RRBs; although PRT explicitly addresses pivotal social communication skills, there is a secondary and less direct effect on RRBs.

Keywords: Behavior therapy; Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT); Repetitive Behavior Scale-Revised (RBS-R); Restricted and repetitive behaviors.

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / psychology*
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / therapy*
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / therapy*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Social Skills*
  • Treatment Outcome