Teaching symbolic play skills to children with autism using Pivotal Response Training

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188 Scopus citations


Used Pivotal Response Training (PRT) to teach 7 children with autism to engage in symbolic play behaviors. Symbolic play, complexity of play behavior, and creativity of play were assessed. In addition, generalization measures were obtained across settings, toys, and play partners. Interaction with the play partners and comparison with typical controls were also examined. Results indicated that children with autism rarely exhibited symbolic play before training or after a control condition. After specific symbolic play training using PRT, all of the children learned to perform complex and creative symbolic play actions at levels similar to that of language-matched typical controls. In most cases the children generalized their play to new toys, environments, and play partners and continued to engage in symbolic play behavior after a 3-month follow-up period. In addition, interaction skills improved after training. Treatment implications for these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-141
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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