Trial of Center-Based vs. In-Home Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) in Autism

Trial ID or NCT#



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The aim of this clinical trial is to compare the efficacy of a 16-week center-based Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT-C) versus home-based Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT-H) in targeting social communication deficits in young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with significant language delay. The two groups will also be compared to a control group that consists of children who are receiving treatment as usual (TAU).

Official Title

Randomized Controlled Trial of Center-Based vs. In-Home Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) in Autism

Eligibility Criteria

Ages Eligible for Study: 2 Years to 5 Years
Sexes Eligible for Study: All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers: No
Inclusion Criteria:
  1. - Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) based on Autism Diagnostic Interview Revised (ADI-R), Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2) or Childhood Autism Rating Scale, Second Edition (CARS-2), Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5th Edition (DSM-5), and expert clinical opinion; - Boys and girls between 2.0 and 5.11 years; - Ability to participate in the testing procedures to the extent that valid standard scores can be obtained; - Language delay as measured by the Preschool Language Scale, 5th Edition (PLS-5): Standard score at least 1 standard deviation below average for expressive language ability for 2 and 3 year olds; 2 standard deviations for 4 year olds, and 3 standard deviations for 5 year olds; - Stable treatment (e.g., Applied Behavior Analysis - ABA), speech therapy, school placement, psychotropic medication(s) or biomedical intervention(s) for at least 1 month prior to baseline measurements; - No anticipated changes on treatment during study participation for Center-Based Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT-C) and In-Home Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT-H); - No more than 60 minutes of individual 1:1 speech therapy per week; - Availability of at least one parent who can consistently participate in parent training and research measures.
Exclusion Criteria:
  1. - Current or lifetime diagnosis of severe psychiatric disorder (e.g., bipolar disorder, etc.); - Receiving ABA of 15 hours or more; - Presence of active medical problem (e.g., unstable seizure disorder or heart disease); - Previous adequate Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) trial; - Participants living more than 30 miles from Stanford University; - Child's primary language other than English.


Antonio Hardan, M.D.
Antonio Hardan, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

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Maddy Clark