Robert Koegel

Robert Koegel
Senior Researcher at Stanford University

Dr. Robert Koegel has focused his career in the area of autism, specializing in language intervention, family support, and school integration.  He has been the Director of the Koegel Autism Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and as of July 2017 is a Senior Researcher at Stanford University.  He has published over two hundred articles and papers relating to the treatment of autism.  He has written and edited six books on the treatment of autism and positive behavioral support, and is the founding Editor of the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions.  Models of his procedures have been used in public schools and in parent education programs throughout California, the United States, and other countries.  He has trained many health care and special education leaders in the United States and abroad.

Robert, along with his spouse Lynn Koegel, are the developers of Pivotal Response Treatment which focuses on motivation.  Together they were the recipients of the first annual Children’s Television Workshop Sesame Street Award for “Brightening the Lives of Children” and the first annual Autism Speaks award for “Science and Research.”


Keystone areas for Autism Intervention: Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) for Autism


Until relatively recently, autism has presented major challenges for treatment providers. Early behavioral research, however, by researchers such as Lovaas, Hewett, Lovett, Wolf, Risley, Sloane, etc. showed that behavioral interventions could substantially improve large numbers of individual target behaviors, including self-help skills, academic skills, disruptive behavior, and language skills. Over time researchers found that certain core pivotal areas of autism appeared to be responsible for very large numbers of response classes of both appropriate and inappropriate behaviors, and the possibility existed for developing a very efficient and effective treatment that could treat those “pivotal areas”, and could result in widespread, fluidly-integrated gains. Additionally ABA researchers, especially those in the area of PBS, developed iterations that relied both on data and also emphasized values such as preserving the dignity of the client and attempting to rely on nonaversive interventions. This presentation describes various pivotal areas that have been researched and one empirically validated intervention called Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT). Research outcomes, including single subject designs and randomized clinical trials will be presented as well as videotaped vignettes of PRT being implemented in order to see the actual implementation of the variables described above. The results are discussed in terms of suggesting directions for future research.