Learn Your Special Education Laws, Special Education Rights, and Share IEP Goal Ideas

You are browsing the archive for Prompts.

Profile photo of Jess

by Jess

Thoughts on Independence

August 29, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

The overriding goal for most students with disabilities is to become independent.  Very often, IEP goals include the specification that skills should be demonstrated “independently.”  We use this word a lot in special education, but it sometimes seems as though there are different interpretations.

To me, independent means without prompts or other assistance.  It means that a skill is performed from start to finish, with no cues or guidance beyond those normally available to anyone performing this skill.  To take a simple example, if all of the children in the classroom take out their reading books upon the teacher’s instruction “Please take out your reading books,” then that is what independent looks like for my student who may have autism, ADHD, or another challenge.  It is not independent if my student takes out his reading book only after his one-to-one aide has repeated the instruction, or if he opens and reads from the book but the teacher took it from her own desk and handed it to him. Read the rest of this entry →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.0/5 (3 votes cast)
Profile photo of Jess

by Jess

Prompting Using Graduated Guidance

April 4, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Jess

Shaping behavior is an art. As a scientist I think of things that are difficult to do, and very beautiful, as art. I cannot do mainstream art, just behavior analytic art. Shaping can be easy and very difficult to do, depending on the behavior and depending on the ability of the instructor.  An instructor whose behavior quickly becomes controlled by the behavior of that who he is shaping will be better at shaping. Prompting to shape, or as a strategy to establish a behavior, can also be a piece of art.

I see, time after time, instructors using physical prompting to teach children with autism, who, even given considerable training on the job, still overuse the physical contact, making learning slower and fostering inappropriate stimulus control; prompt dependency an accident waiting to happen. I see that even in videos on the internet that are supposed to show good examples of applied behavior analysis being implemented to teach children with autism. I had guessed a long time ago that it may help if instructors receive training in shaping a behavior "with their own hands", that is, observing the organism behave and making several decisions about exactly when to present the reinforcer contingent on a response that is not yet the final one, but is the one that a) is the closest approximation to that one seen until then; b) with such timing that the approximation itself will not be extinguished until a better approximation is seen and caught, reinforced. Read the rest of this entry →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Dear Kids with Autism, Prompt Dependency is Not Your Fault

February 2, 2012 in Special Education Articles by Doug Goldberg

I can't even count how many times I've heard teachers say, "This child is so prompt-dependent!" They say it as if to imply it is the child's fault, and it is a nuisance to have to deal with a child who is purposefully waiting for prompts (cues, assistance, help) in order to respond to directions, to begin tasks, or to make initiations. Well, here's the news flash: Kids with autism can only become prompt-dependent if that is what we teach them. When kids receive excessive amounts of prompting, it is inevitable that they will begin to rely on prompts. Generally, kids with autism want to please adults. In situations in which heavy amounts of prompting is used, the kids quickly learn that it is best to wait for the prompt to make sure they know exactly what the adult wants so they can "get it right." ABA interventions are very effective and can change the lives of many kids with autism; however, we have to be very careful with how we use certain behavioral techniques to prevent prompt dependency. In classical discrete trial training programs, kids are presented with an antecedent (request, direction, question, etc.), and if they don't respond, prompting/fading procedures are used to elicit the desired behavioral response followed by a consequence (positive reinforcement). While this is almost a foolproof way of teaching new skills, we do have to be cautious about how we use prompting/fading procedures to prevent prompt-dependency. Many behaviorists use what is called, most-to-least prompts (beginning with the most intrusive prompts and gradually fading out the prompts used until the child responds independently). While this is necessary to use when teaching skills that are brand new to the child, we shouldn't use this approach in every interaction with the child or prompt dependency can be the result. Here ten ways to decrease the likelihood that kids with autism will become prompt dependent (please share some additional ideas): Read the rest of this entry →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)