Name that object

Pivotal response therapy that taps into the interests of children with autism, is better than existing therapies at motivating them to talk, a new study shows.

An autism therapy called pivotal response treatment, which taps into children’s interests, works better than existing therapies at motivating the children to talk, according to a large study by Stanford School of Medicine researchers.

In the treatment, parents and therapists encourage children who have speech delays to name something they want, such as a toy or a drink, before giving it to them.

“The results of our study are exciting because we found that children in the pivotal response treatment group improved not just in their communication skills, but also in their broader social abilities,” said Grace Gengoux, PhD, clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and the lead author of the study published Aug. 5 in Pediatrics.