Prompting: ABA Skills Explained

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Monday, September 10, 2018

The Scott Center

Part 7:  Prompting

In this final Part 7 of ABA Basics, we explain “prompting” and “fading.” Prompts usually go hand-in-hand with errorless teaching (as discussed in Part 6).  Prompts are used to increase the likelihood that a student will provide a desired response. Fading is gradually reducing the prompt.

Prompts are helpful cues that can be used to help someone begin and complete a specific task. They are antecedents, which mean they are present before the behavior starts.

We use prompts when teaching new skills, and fade them as soon as we can to let the natural consequences of behavior reinforce skill performance.

Some types of prompts:

Verbal prompts are the most common prompt used, which include written or spoken instructions, or questions that provide the child with direction for completing the task. For example, “Go get your shoes,” is a verbal prompt.

Modeling prompts include demonstrations of the response you want to see. For example, showing the child how to buckle a seatbelt, and then having them do it.

Manual or physical prompts involve contact from the teacher or parent to help the child complete the task. You child may require full physical prompting early on, in which you direct them hand-over-hand, or you can reduce or add the physical prompts as needed, which is called graduated guidance.

Gestural prompting is another type of prompt, which includes pointing, nodding, or otherwise motioning toward the child, activity or materials to indicate an action to be done. The type of prompt you choose will depend on the skill you are teaching, and what will be most easily faded out in the future.

Fading prompts:

Fading prompts, or removing them from the learning situation slowly, is essential to encourage generalization of skills to other places and with other people. Be sure to fade prompts as quickly as possible to try to reduce prompt-dependency.

More information in this video: