School Psychology Review

Pivotal Teaching Interactions for Children With Autism

Robert L. Koegel, Lynn Kern Koegel, Cynthia M. Carter

pp. 576-594

Mini-Series: Assessment and Treatment of Children With Autism in the Schools

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Abstract: This article discusses effective teaching interactions in the treatment of autism with a focus on pivotal target behaviors. Specifically, in behaviorally oriented intervention approaches, our research suggests that several areas appear to be especially important. First,progress may be enhanced by defining “pivotal” target behaviors that affect wide areas of functioning so that school psychologists, teachers, and other practitioners may be able to have widespread impacts on children’s overall functioning. Second, psychologists are now able to develop interventions that simultaneously lead to independence on the part of the child, are correlated with decreases in untreated problem behaviors, are maintained with the passage of time, and therefore result in a long-term improved prognosis.