Other Prompting Procedures

Overview

Simultaneous Prompting, Most-to-Least Prompting, and “No No” Prompting are three other prompting strategies that can be used to promote learning of skills by children with and without disabilities. Prior to using any of these strategies, you must first identify a potential reinforcer. By reinforcer, we mean something that is likely to increase the child’s motivation to respond correctly. See the Preference Assessment section if you need help identifying likely reinforcers. These strategies, though shown by some research to be effective strategies for teaching children new skills, each have drawbacks that may make them less effective or efficient than other prompting strategies. See the Progressive Time Delay and System of Least Prompts sections for alternative prompting strategies.

Simultaneous Prompting

EBIP_teaching children outdoors_physical activity_teacher directed_5Simultaneous Prompting is a prompting procedure that uses a consistent controlling prompt during instructional trials (teaching trials), and no prompts during probe trials (assessment trials).

For every instructional trial, you give the task direction, and then immediately give the controlling prompt. The controlling prompt is any prompt that consistently results in a prompted correct response, based on what you know about the child. Immediately after the prompted correct response, praise the response and provide a reinforcer. For example, if a teacher is teaching a child to wave to his peer, the teacher might say, “Wave to your friend!” and immediately provide a full physical prompt (i.e., hand-over-hand prompting) to ensure the child waves to his peer. To reinforce this response, the teacher might then provide the child with his favorite toy.

For every pre-determined number of sessions (e.g., every other session), you present probe trials. During probe trials, you give the same task direction, and then provide no prompts, i.e., wait to see if the child engages in the correct response. If the child responds correctly, praise the response and provide a reinforcer. If the child does not respond or responds incorrectly, simply end the trial without providing any consequences. Using the example above, during a probe trial, the teacher would say, “Wave to your friend!” and wait to see what the child does. If the child waves, the teacher might praise the child and give him his favorite toy. If the child does not respond or responds incorrectly (e.g., claps his hand), the teacher would simply end the trial. Thus, during instructional sessions, teaching occurs and during probe sessions, you simply test whether the child is able to do the behavior without teaching.

Although Simultaneous Prompting has been shown in research to be an effective way to teach children new skills, the alternation between instructional and probe sessions may be confusing for the child, as she may not know when she will be prompted to respond correctly and when she will be required to respond independently. Further, the child may make errors during probe trials, which prevents her from responding correctly and accessing reinforcement. We recommend using errorless prompting strategies (e.g., Progressive Time Delay, System of Least Prompts) to minimize the number of errors made by the child.

Most-to-Least Prompting

EBIP_peer training_2Most-to-Least Prompting (MTL) is a prompting procedure that uses different levels of prompts to promote learning of skills by children with and without disabilities. When using this procedure, you always begin by providing the most intrusive prompt (i.e., a prompt that consistently results in a prompted correct response, based on what you know about the child). You systematically change prompts to provide less and less assistance until prompts are removed entirely. The child’s behavior is considered mastered when the child is able to correctly and consistently respond independently.

Multiple types of prompts (at least two levels) are used across instruction, though only one prompt will be used during each instructional trial. Prompts should be behavior and child-specific. Choose at least two types of prompts, one that ensures correct responding for most trials (controlling prompt), and one or more prompts that provide only a little assistance (non-controlling prompt), based on what you know about the child. When using this procedure, you always start by providing the most intrusive prompt that will consistently result in a correct response. Once the child consistently responds correctly following your prompt, begin using a lesser prompt. Continue this process until you provide no prompts at all, and the child responds consistently and correctly for most or all trials.

For example, when teaching a child that she must go to the sink after going potty, a teacher might begin by using physical prompting (i.e., physically directing the child toward the sink). After the child consistently goes to the sink following physical prompting, the teacher might point to the sink after the child exits the bathroom. After the child consistently and correctly responds to the teacher pointing to the sink, the teacher might move to the “independent” level of responding. If the child responds correctly and consistently, the behavior would be considered mastered. If the child does not respond correctly and consistently, the teacher would return to pointing for several more trials, and then again move to the “independent” level of responding.

Although MTL prompting has been shown in research to be an effective way to teach children new skills, there are no clear guidelines for when to change from more intrusive to less intrusive prompts. Further, there is no way to assess whether the child has independently mastered the skill prior to systematically fading the prompts entirely. For example, a child might be able to respond correctly and independently after only a few trials with the most intrusive prompt, but it may be days or weeks before the child is permitted to demonstrate independent responding. Progressive Time Delay and System of Least Prompts may be more efficient prompting strategies to teach children new skills.

“No No” Prompting

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“No No” Prompting is a prompting procedure in which the teacher presents the same trial up to three consecutive times.

When using “No No” Prompting, you begin by providing the task direction. If the child responds correctly, praise the response and provide the reinforcer. You do not repeat the task direction. However, if the child does not respond or responds incorrectly, you say “No” or “Try again,” and repeat the task direction a second time. If the child responds correctly on this second trial, then praise the response, provide the reinforcer, and do not repeat the task direction. However, if the child does not respond or responds incorrectly, you say “No” or “Try again,” and repeat the task direction a third time. During this third trial, after repeating the task direction, you immediately give the controlling prompt. The controlling prompt is any prompt that consistently results in a prompted correct response, based on what you know about the child. Immediately after the prompted correct response, praise the response and provide a reinforcer. For example, if you were teaching a child to name photographs of preferred objects and you were teaching “blocks” and “crayons”, you might hold up a photo of crayons and say “What’s this?” If the child said “blocks”, you would say “No, what’s this?” and hold up the photo a second time. If the child said “blocks” again, you would say “No, what’s this? Crayons” while holding up the photo a third time.

Although “No No” Prompting may be an effective way to teach children new skills, a child may make up to two errors before responding correctly and receiving reinforcement. This may frustrate or confuse the child. This may lessen his motivation to respond, or even punish responding. We recommend using errorless prompting strategies (e.g., Progressive Time Delay, System of Least Prompts) to minimize the number of errors the child makes and to increase the number of times the child will respond correctly and access his or her reinforcer.

Where can I find additional information regarding other prompting procedures?

  • The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders 
  • Çelik, S., & Vuran, S. (2014). Comparison of direct instruction and simultaneous prompting procedure on teaching concepts to individuals with intellectual disability. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 49(1), 127-144.
  • Kurt, O., & Tekin-Iftar, E. (2008). A comparison of constant time delay and simultaneous prompting within embedded instruction on teaching leisure skills to children with autism. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 28(1), 53-64.
  • Leaf, J. B., Oppenheim-Leaf, M., Dotson, W. H., Johnson, V. A., Courtemanche, A. B., Sheldon, J. B., & Sherman, J. A. (2011). Effects of no-no prompting on teaching expressive labeling of facial expressions to children with and without a pervasive developmental disorder. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 46(2), 186-203.
  • Leaf, J.B., Leaf, R., Taubman, M., Et Al. (2013). Comparison of flexible prompt fading to error correction for children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities 26 (2), 203-224.
  • Morse, T. E. & Shuster, J. W. (2004). Simultaneous prompting: A review of the literature. Education and Treaining in Developmental Disabilities 39(2), 153-168.
  • Redhair, E. I., McCoy, K. M., Zucker, S. H., Mathur, S. R., & Caterino, L. (2013). Identification of printed nonsense words for an individual with autism: A comparison of constant time delay and stimulus fading. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 48(3), 351-362.
  • Reichow, B., & Wolery, M. (2009). Comparison of everyday and every-fourth-day probe sessions with the simultaneous prompting procedure. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 29(2), 79-89. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0271121409337885
  • Waugh, R.E., Alberto, P.A., & Fredrick, L.D. (2011). Simultaneous Prompting: An Instructional Strategy for Skill Acquisition. Education & Training in Autism & Developmental Disabilities, 46(4), 528-543.

To cite this page (APA 6th edition):

  • Chazin, K.T. & Ledford, J.R. (2016). Other prompting procedures. In Evidence-based instructional practices for young children with autism and other disabilities. Retrieved from http://vkc.mc.vanderbilt.edu/ebip/other-procedures