Classroom Pivotal Response Teaching (CPRT)

Development of CPRT 
(Research funded by IES grant #R324B070027)

Although special education teachers report using PRT, little research has examined PRT use in the context of community school programs. There is some research to support that teachers have challenges implementing PRT with fidelity in the classroom. To address this issue, a research community partnership was used to adapt PRT specifically for classroom environments. 
Initially, focus groups were conducted to explore teacher knowledge of PRT and similar naturalistic behavioral interventions, and to identify barriers to use.  Focus group participants (n=13) included special education teachers who either used PRT, had received some training in PRT but did not use the intervention, or had not received training in PRT.  Results indicated teachers found PRT valuable, but found some components difficult to use in a classroom setting.  

For a full description of this project, please see: 
Aubyn C. Stahmer, Jessica Suhrheinrich, Sarah Reed, and Laura Schreibman, “What Works for You? Using Teacher Feedback to Inform Adaptations of Pivotal Response Training for Classroom Use,” Autism Research and Treatment, vol. 2012, Article ID 709861, 11 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/709861

Next we systematically explored possible adaptations to PRT components based on teacher feedback and data collected from observation of teachers using PRT.  Two components--Turn Taking and requiring student responding to Multiple Cues--were examined for possible adaptation.  Results from turn-taking data suggested that of the four types of turns a provider can take during an interaction with a child, the optimal turn depends on the developmental level of the child, as well as the skill being taught. Additionally, the study on the component addressing responsivity to Multiple Cues indicated that typically developing children under 36 months of age have difficulty responding to simultaneous multiple cues suggesting that it may not be an appropriate goal for children with ASD functioning at or below a 36 month developmental level. 

For a full description of this project, please see: 
Rieth, S. R., Stahmer, A. C., Suhrheinrich, J., Schreibman, L., Kennedy, J., & Ross, B. (2014). Identifying critical elements of treatment examining the use of turn taking in autism intervention. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 29(3), 168-179.

Reed, S. R., Stahmer, A. C., Suhrheinrich, J., & Schreibman, L. (2013). Stimulus overselectivity in typical development: Implications for teaching children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43(6), 1249-1257.

Rieth, S. R., Stahmer, A. C., Suhrheinrich, J., & Schreibman, L. (2015). Examination of the prevalence of stimulus overselectivity in children with ASD. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 48(1), 71-84.

Pilot evaluation of CPRT

The pilot project used a multiple baseline design across training groups to examine 20 teachers’ use of Classroom Pivotal Response Teaching (CPRT) with students with ASD in special education settings. Results indicated that teachers learned the strategies after a relatively brief training period that included coaching, were satisfied with the training and adapted materials, and that use of CPRT was associated with improved student engagement. 

For a full description of this project, please see:
Stahmer, A., Suhrheinrich, J., Rieth, S. (2016). A Pilot Examination of the Adapted Protocol for Classroom Pivotal Response Teaching [Abstract]. Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals, 11(1).

Evaluating the effectiveness of CPRT in classroom settings 
(Research funded by IES grant #R324A140005)

We are concluding a randomized waitlist-control study in 111 classrooms in Southern California to examine the efficacy of CPRT. Teachers (n=111) and paraprofessionals (n=67) have received training, and 308 children with ASD have participated.  Each teacher who enrolled in our study received 12 hours of didactic instruction about CPRT implementation, as well as weekly in-classroom coaching and feedback. The following measures were collected for analysis:
1. Autism Diagnostic Observation Scales
2. Mullen Scales of Early Learning or Differential Ability Scales-II
3. Child and teacher demographic survey
4. Evidence-Based Practice Attitude Scale
5. Program Implementation Climate Scales
6. Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (teacher and parent)
7. Pervasive Developmental Disorders Behavior Inventory (teacher and parent)
8. Classroom quality observations
9. Filmed activity observations blind-coded for the following:
a. Student engagement
b. CPRT fidelity of implementation
10. Goal Attainment Scaling

Examining the effect of immediate video feedback during coaching 
(Research funded by Autism Science Foundation)

This study examined the effects of immediate video feedback during coaching for teachers and paraprofessionals learning Classroom Pivotal Response Teaching (CPRT). Special education teachers, along with their classroom paraprofessionals, were randomly assigned to a coaching as usual (CAU) or a coaching with video enhancement (VE) condition. Both groups received both verbal and written feedback regarding strengths and weaknesses of their CPRT implementation. Additionally, the VE condition received video feedback during their coaching sessions. Overall, teachers demonstrated higher fidelity of implementation than paraprofessionals (t(44)= -2.73, p< .01), but no significant differences group differences were identified between VE and CAU conditions.  Univariate ANOVA models were conducted to examine the relationship between participant satisfaction regarding overall quality of the training and highest percentage of CPRT components passed (F(2,37) = 3.93, p = .03). Results indicate use of the iPad may impact training outcomes and participant satisfaction with training procedures and add to the very limited literature on how technology may be used to enhance in-service training for teachers.