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Peer-Mediated Pivotal Response Treatment For Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Provider Perspectives On Acceptability, Feasibility, And Fit At School

Ainsley M. Boudreau, Penny Corkum, Isabel M. Smith

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Few effective school-based interventions that target social-communication skills are available for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The growing gap between interventions designed for use in research settings and the school environment is concerning for researchers and clinicians alike. Research methods that incorporate relevant stakeholders (e.g., educators, early intervention providers [EIPs]) throughout the process from intervention design to implementation help to bridge this gap. This study used content analysis of interview data to evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of a specific peer-mediated intervention (PMI) for school use for young children with ASD. We explored educators’ and EIPs’ perspectives on evidence-based practice (EBP), the components of the proposed intervention (using Pivotal Response Treatment, PRT), and the overall acceptability and feasibility of using the intervention at school, through interviews with 29 participants (24 elementary school educators and five EIPs serving children with ASD). Results indicated that stakeholders had some knowledge of PRT and found the PMI approach to be acceptable and feasible. Several potential challenges were identified with respect to typically developing peers as intervention agents. We discuss educators’ specific recommendations for intervention adaptation and provide a model for researchers and educators to collaborate in promoting optimal use of EBPs at school.