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Have you heard of prompts? Any idea what they are or how they're used? You can take a look at this video and hear a bit more about it!

What works for one learner might not work for another.

It depends on their skill level what they already have in their repertoire their ability to imitate follow visual or written instructions their attending abilities their level of cooperation how tolerant they are of prompting, etc.

It ALSO matters how well paired you are with the learner!

Do you have a solid therapeutic alliance?

Do they trust you and want to be with you?

Do they want to learn from you and have fun with you?

Do you know how to get them to HRE and be there with them?

Now that I’ve given you those things to think about, let’s talk about actual prompts.

We usually want to try to avoid the use of verbal prompts, they’re really easy to use, but they’re also realllly hard to fade.

When possible we want to use environmental prompts, gestures, etc.

If you are teaching a motor skill, physical prompts are usually best, but only if the leaner will tolerate them without becoming stressed!

UNLESS the kiddo is great at following a model, an example-putting on pants. It is MUCH easier to hand over hand help someone put on pants so they can really feel how to position their hands, what motions helps pull them up, etc.

Some kids respond well to modeling, but this requires attention and imitation skills-so it won’t necessarily work for all learners.

TYPES OF prompts

1. Gestural Prompt: Using a gesture or any type of action the learner can observe the instructor doing, such as pointing, reaching, or nodding, to give information about the correct response.

2. Full Physical Prompt: Physically guiding the learner’s hands to complete the task thoroughly. Also known as hand-over-hand assistance and is considered the most intrusive prompt.

3. Partial Physical Prompt: The instructor provides some assistance to guide the learner through part of the requested activity. It is less intrusive than a full physical prompt.

4. Verbal Prompt: A verbal prompt involves telling the learner the answer, giving a verbal cue, such as, the beginning sound of the answer, and/or giving the direction more than once.

5. Visual Prompt: A visual prompt is a picture or cue that the student sees which provides information about the correct answer. Can involve a visual schedule, video, photograph, drawing, flashing a card with the right answer, etc.

6. Positional Prompt: A positional prompt involves the instructor placing the correct response closest to the learner or in a manner that assists in giving information about the answer.

Things to consider:

How does the child learn best?

Are there processing delays?

Watch for assent withdrawal!!

Do they *actually* need to learn this?

How does learning this make their life better or safer?

Is there a different way of accomplishing the same goal that would require less prompting and support?

If you must teach and prompts are necessary…have a plan upfront to systematically fade prompts as quickly as possible

*** Avoid creating prompt dependence and learned helplessness by using the least intrusive, lowest prompt necessary to support.

Join my private FB group here, Empowered Parents, so you have an opportunity to be included in the conversation! I specialize in coaching neurodiverse families with assent-based, neurodivergent-affirming support. We focus on making sure your child's needs are met while building/strengthening the parent-child bond and caregiver well-being. I use my background as a BCBA and special education teacher to collaborate with you and empower you! I run the group and interact with members to answer questions and offer support!

If you enjoy my content, feel free to show your support and appreciation HERE

Be well,


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