Prompting
Chapter 17
(Cooper, et. al)
Chapter 4
(MacDuff, et. al)
(Demchek, 1990)
Prompting and Prompt
Fading

Prompts:

supplemental stimuli that control the target response
but are not a part of the natural SD that will eventually
control the behavior




(Touchette & Howard, 1984)
Prompts are given before or during the performance
of a behavior
they help behavior occur so that the teacher can
provide reinforcement
Only introduced during the acquisition phase of
instruction
Prompting and Prompt
Fading

Transfer of Stimulus Control



technique used to fade response and
stimulus prompts
Prompts should be used only during
acquisition
Transfer stimulus control from prompt to
naturally-existing stimuli quickly using fading
2 Types of Prompts

Response Prompts: stimuli added to a
child’s response



Verbal Directions
Modeling
Physical Guidance
• How else can we say this?

Stimulus Prompts: Stimuli used in
conjunction with the task stimuli or
instructional materials



Movement Cues
Position Cues
Redundance
Response prompts: stimuli
added to a child’s response

Verbal directions:




can be one word or several in length and are
used very often in typical classrooms
vocal or written
e.g., When teaching a child to tie a shoe –
can say remember to make the bows big
e.g., remind the student what they need to
do –Remember do your math worksheet and
then we can go to the party
Response prompts: stimuli
added to a child’s response

Verbal directions:

Can be used with children with autism
but…..
• Child must have responding that is rulegoverned or use familiar language
• Make sure they are not prompts but
critical variables of concern
• E.g., instructions –can be taught to
respond to these often paired with
modeling
Response prompts: stimuli
added to a child’s response

Modeling prompts






a behavior can be modeled by
demonstrating the desired behavior so that it
can be imitated. It can be used in
combination with other prompts
Child must have generalized imitation
e.g., words on a card to be copied – writing activity
schedules
e.g., videotaping the actions of a play script
e.g., drawing the components for an art script
e.g., posture and attention
Response prompts: stimuli
added to a child’s response

Manual guidance:

an instructor manually guides a child
through the entire target response

e.g., teaching a child to dress –not
pulling the pants up for a child but
putting your hands over the child’s
and guiding them pull them up
Response Prompt Fading
(Transferring from Response Prompts to
natural cues)
Most-to-Least Prompts
 Graduated Guidance


Shadowing and spatial fading
Least-to-Most Prompts
 Time Delay

Response Prompt Fading
(Transferring from Response Prompts to
natural cues)

Most-to-least :

the instructor initially guides the student
manually through the entire performance
then gradually reduces the amount of
manual assistance provided as training
progresses from session to session.
• e.g., dressing

Gradually reduce amount of manual
assistance
• Modeling
• Verbal instruction
• Natural stimulus

When is this hierarchy appropriate?
Response Prompt Fading
(Transferring from Response Prompts to
natural cues)

Graduated guidance


is defined as the teacher provides a manual
prompt only when it is needed and then it is
faded immediately whenever the student
responses correctly.
Foxx and Azrin (1973) recommend using
shadowing and spatial fading with the
graduated guidance procedure as soon as
the student is performing the skill
independently.
Response Prompt Fading
(Transferring from Response Prompts to
natural cues)

Graduated guidance


Shadowing
• has the teacher following the student’s movements with her
hands very near but not touching the child. The teacher then
gradually increases the distance of her hands from the
student.
Spatial fading
• involves gradually changing the location of the manual
prompt.
• e.g., if the manual prompt is used for a hand movement, the
teacher can move the prompt from the hand to the wrist, to
the elbow, to the shoulder, and then to no manual contact.
Response Prompt Fading
(Transferring from Response Prompts to
natural cues)

Least to most prompts




Provide participant with an opportunity to perform the
response with the least amount of assistance on
each trial
Participant receives greater degrees of assistance
with each successive trial without a correct response
Advantages
• the student always has an opportunity to response
and the student’s behavior determines the level of
prompting needed for a correct response
increasing assistance as necessary.
Disadvantages
• multiple errors
Example

“Joe point to the number 8 “


“Joe point to the number 8. It’s the one between 7 and 9 on your
number line.”


He points to the 9
“Joe point to the number 8. The tutor placed his hand on top of
Joe’s and moves his hand close to the number 8”


No response
“Joe watch me point to the number 8 on your paper. Now you
point to the number 8.”


no response
He points to 9
“Joe, point to the number 8. The tutor guides Joe’s fingers to the
number 8”
Response Prompt Fading

Time delay

Varying the time interval between presentation of a
natural stimulus and the presentation of a response
prompt
• Constant time delay
• Begin with a 0-sec delay
• Then use a fixed delay (e.g., 3 sec)
• Progressive time delay
• Begin with a 0-sec delay
• Gradually and systematically increase delay (e.g., in 1-sec
intervals) according to some rule
Recommendations when using response
prompt fading methods (Demchek, 1990)
Important to consider instructional
time to criterion, trial to criterion and
errors to criterion.
 Procedures that lead to less
instructional time or fewer trial should
be used

Recommendations when using response
prompt fading methods (Demchek, 1990)

Procedures that result in fewer errors
should also be considered




Once an error is made it tends to be
repeated
Errors involve time and further decrease
instructional time
Some individuals display non-productive
responses when engaged in difficult tasks
Should errorless learning be the fading
strategy of choice for all students?
Recommendations when using response
prompt fading methods (Demchek, 1990)

If the focus of instruction is
acquisition, the more efficient prompt
fading method is most to least in
terms of errors to criterion
Recommendations when using response
prompt fading methods (Demchek, 1990)




If instruction is focusing on fluency, least to
most is more efficient
If teaching discrete responses time delay
appears to be more efficient than least to
most
If teaching chained response, constant time
delay is more efficient than least to most.
Constant time delay may be easier to use
than progressive time delay and result in
higher procedural reliability when teaching
discrete responses
Stimulus prompts: stimuli added to an SD
prior to a child emitting a response.


Movement prompts

pointing to or looking at the target stimulus.

e.g. when teaching a student to discriminate a penny
from a dime you might point to correct coin.
Positional prompts


moving the target stimulus closer to a child.
e.g., if asking for a dime –move it closer
Stimulus prompts: stimuli added to an SD
prior to a child emitting a response.

Redundance

when additional dimensions (e.g., color, size
shape) of the target stimulus are exaggerated



e.g. prompt is exaggerating the lettering on a dime –
criterion related
e.g., placing the correct coin on a white sheet of
paper –non-criterion related
Stimulus Prompt Fading
(Transferring from Stimulus Prompts to
natural cues)

Stimulus prompts are faded through
errorless learning procedures such as:
Stimulus shaping
 Transposition
 Stimulus fading

• (LaBlanc & Etzel, 1981)
Stimulus Prompt Fading
(Transferring from Stimulus Prompts to
natural cues)

-Stimulus fading:
 highlighting a manual dimension (e.g., color, size,
position) of a stimulus to increase the likelihood of a
correct response.
 The highlighted or exaggerated dimension is faded
gradually in or out.
 e.g., fully highlighting a letter “A” to teach handwriting
–criterion related prompt
 e.g., 17 and 71 –in puzzles –give them a one and
have them place the one in the correct position to
make 17 or 71 –eventually fade this to a writing task

–criterion related prompts ensure that the child is
attending to the relevant dimension of the stimulus.
Stimulus Prompt Fading
(Transferring from Stimulus Prompts to
natural cues)

Superimposition of stimuli is

Frequently used with stimulus fading.

Two specific classes of stimuli are presented to prompt
a response.

In one instance the transfer of stimulus control occurs
when one stimulus is faded out; in another application
one stimulus is faded in as the other stimulus is faded
out.
Stimulus Prompt Fading
(Transferring from Stimulus Prompts to
natural cues)

Examples of Superimposition of stimuli

e.g. Terrace (1963):
 colored lights (red & green)
 Lines superimposed on lights
 Lights faded out

e.g.,

E.g., Pg 406 & 407–criterion related?
5
1-2-3-4-5-
+ 2
6-7
=7
Stimulus Prompt Fading
(Transferring from Stimulus Prompts to
natural cues)

Stimulus shape transformations

Use an initial stimulus shape that will prompt a
correct response

This shape is gradually changed to form the natural
stimulus, while maintaining correct responding

e.g., picture of a car –gradually changing to the
written word car –criterion related
Another Way to Look at
Things…….MacDuff, 2001

Classification of prompts are not really
necessary…..in reality we use them
as packages

Although Stimulus and Response
prompt classification can be useful
Additional prompts
Stimulus or Response Prompts?
Gestural prompts
 Photographs and line drawings
 Textual prompts
 Tactile
 Tones/alarms

Prompt-fading systems:
Ways to fade Stimulus or
Response Prompts?
Most-to Least
 Least-to Most
 Time Delay
 Graduated Guidance
 Stimulus Fading
 Stimulus Shaping

Questions to answer when
selecting a prompt

What is the target response?

Does my prompt lead to the target response?

What is the natural stimuli that should control
this behavior?
Questions to answer when
selecting a prompt

Does my prompt lead to that stimuli controlling
the behavior?
 Order your SDs in a hierarchy from the most
natural to the most artificial and select from
there
• E.g. eye contact –why you wouldn’t say “look” or
“hands down”
• E.g., teaching a student to discriminate “b” and “d”
• Extra stimulus prompt-non-criterion related
prompts
• Within-stimulus prompts –criterion related
prompts –magnified critical features
Information to remember when
fading prompts:


Am I producing a shift in attention from my
prompt to the relevant discriminative
stimuli?
Am I decreasing the likelihood of prompt
dependency while preventing errors?



-e.g., fading prompts in a timely fashion
Am I using an error-correction procedure if
the child makes a mistake?
Am I reinforcing only when I reduce my
level of prompt - giving the child an
incentive to independently perform the
response?
Coping with stimulus
overdependence and overselectivity

Children with autism’s behavior may be
controlled by a limited number of even just
one –often non-relevant stimulus -of the
complex stimulus



E.g., placement of an object, its color,
person doing the teaching
Can recall someone’s name when they are
sitting in their seat in the classroom –pass
them on the street and I’m in trouble
How do you fix this?
Correcting Overselectivity
Control has to be transferred over to
the critical features of the SD
 Alternate trials involving single
components of the complex stimulus
with trials containing the intact
complex stimulus

Stimulus Control Research focusing on
Techniques that are Designed to Fade
Adult Prompts very Rapidly (Green, 2001)



Activity Schedules
 (MacDuff, Krantz &McClannahan, 1993)
 Independent/ skills; leisure skills
Script/script fading procedures
 (Krantz & McClannahan, 1998) (Stevenson, Krantz &
McClannahn, 2000)
 Textual or audio prompts
 Words embedded in an activity schedule
 Initiate and respond to verbal statements
Tactile Prompts
 (Taylor & Levin, 1998)
 Verbal initiations
Stimulus Control Research focusing on
Techniques that are Designed to Fade
Adult Prompts very Rapidly (Green, 2001)



Video Modeling
 (Charlop & Milstein, 1989) (Reeve, et al., 2007)
 Purchasing skills, helping skills
 Lots of additonal research questions
Priming
 (Schreibman, Whalen & Stahmer, 2000)
 Decreasing disruptive behavior
 Lots of additional research questions
Incidental Teaching or “Naturalistic Techniques” &
Natural Language Paradgm
 (Hart & Risley, 1968) & (Koegel, 1995)
 Verbal initiations
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