Previous Research

The following research projects were foundational in the development of CPRT.

Evaluating the effectiveness of CPRT in classroom settings

Research funded by IES grant #R324A140005

This study involved testing the effectiveness of the classroom modification, Classroom Pivotal Response Teaching (CPRT) in over 100 classrooms in Southern California. We have completed training and data collection for the Classroom Pivotal Response Teaching (CPRT) effectiveness trial. A total of 126 teachers across 17 school districts were trained over three years. In total, 308 students participated in this study. Data collected includes observational, survey, and standardized measures for both teachers and students.

Teacher training outcomes: 

  • CPRT fidelity was significantly higher at the end of the training year relative to the observation year.

  • Teachers report using CPRT an average of 47 minutes per day.

  • Teachers report high overall satisfaction and confidence in their ability to use CPRT with their students.


For access to relevant publications, please see:

Suhrheinrich, J., Rieth, S.R., Dickson, K., Roesch, S., & Stahmer, A.C. (2019). Classroom Pivotal Response Teaching: Teacher training outcomes of a community efficacy trial. Teacher Education and Special Education​​

Examining the effect of immediate video feedback during coaching

Research funded by Autism Science Foundation

This study was completed during Year 3 of the effectiveness trial described below. It 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. 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.

For access to relevant publications, please see:

Suhrheinrich, J., & Chan, J.D. (2016). Exploring the effect of immediate video feedback on coaching. Journal of Special Education Technology, 32(1), 47-53.

Pilot evaluation of CPRT

Research funded by IES grant #R324B070027

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 access to relevant publications, please see:

Stahmer, A., Suhrheinrich, J., Rieth, S. (2016). A pilot examination of the adapted protocol for Classroom Pivotal Response Teaching. Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals, 11(1), 119-139.

PRT Component Adaptation

Research funded by IES grant #R324B070027

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 access to relevant publications, 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.

CPRT Focus Groups

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 access to relevant publications, please see:

Stahmer, A. C., Suhrheinrich, J., Reed, S., & Schreibman, L. (2012). What works for you? Using teacher feedback to inform adaptations of pivotal response training for classroom use. Autism Research and Treatment.