Prompt Hierarchy

Independent responses are goal, right? That means that the learner elicit the desired response by themself as soon as the sD is presented.

  • sD= discriminative stimulus AKA the cue to engage in the behavior (because a reinforcing stimulus has been available or an aversive stimulus has been removed in the past).
  • Ideally, the sD should be a natural cue:
    • Having funky breath is a cue to brush your teeth (funky breath removed).
    • A full bladder is a cue to use the restroom (discomfort eliminated).
    • The doorbell ringing is the cue to open the door (package/pizza man).
  • In the context of discrete teaching trials, the sD (often a misnomer) is the direction provided:
    • “Touch B”
    • “What has four wheels and goes vroom?”
    • “What’s this?”
    • “Brush your teeth”

If the learner does not produce the response independently, or the teaching procedure calls for most-to-least prompting, then refer to the visual below to follow the prompts in the correct order.

Don’t forget to fade prompts (scale back to a less obtrusive prompt) as soon as the learner is successful at engaging in the desired behavior with the current prompt.

Prompt dependence hinders independence.

P.S. The prompt you use may vary session-to-session or even minute-to-minute. Seek help from your supervisor to be sure you’re meeting the specific needs of your learner.

P.P.S. The verbal prompt is the hardest to fade!

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2 Responses

  1. I like this visual a lot! Great work!

    Kayla from AllDayABA

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