Evidence-Based Practice Library

Five Types of Prompting

Teachers can use of the five major prompting methods throughout their facilitation of Digitability. 

Verbal Prompts

Verbal Prompts

Verbal prompts are words, instructions, or questions that direct a learner to engage in a target response. Verbal prompts should be simple and explicit. Verbal prompts will range from saying the entire word or phrase that you are trying to elicit from the learner to providing only the first sound or syllable to cue the learner.

Gestural Prompts

Gestural Prompts include pointing to, looking at, motioning, or nodding to indicate a correct response. Be careful not to become dependent on gestural prompts when teaching a learner how to interact with a computer.

gestural primpts
Modeling Prompts

Visual Prompts

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.

Positional Prompts

Positional prompting involves arranging given materials so that the correct item is close to or in front of the learner. For example, if a task consists of picking a picture of an object from a group of three pictures, you might initially arrange them so that the correct choice is directly in front of your learner, while the two incorrect choices are on the other side of the table. As your learner progresses, the other cards can be gradually moved closer until they are even with the correct choice.

Positional Prompting
Physical prompting
Physical Prompts
Tactile prompting involves actually touching the child. A full physical prompt might involve moving the child through the entirety of behavior, i.e. moving his hand to select the right card from an array, and then moving the card further to hand it to you or someone else. A partial physical prompt might be just touching a hand or shoulder to get the child started on the behavior.

Prompting & Fading

Least to Most Prompts: Depending on the needs of the learner, you may need to increase prompting. You may initially present the request without any prompting and then increase assistance until the learner displays the requested behavior. When increasing assistance remember to give the learner the opportunity to respond correctly by waiting a specific interval of time (often 5-0 seconds). This interval should remain constant during the instruction.

  • The desired behavior is for the learner to: “Click on the address bar.”
    The student does not respond within the specific time period of five (5) seconds.
  • You provide a verbal prompt by asking a question: “Where is the address bar?” The student does not respond within the specific time period of five (5) seconds.
  • You provide an additional verbal prompt by giving a hint: “The address bar is a long, white rectangle at the top of your browser.”
    The student does not respond within the specific time period of five (5) seconds.
  • You provide a gestural prompt by pointing to the address bar. The student does not respond within the specific time period of five (5) seconds
  • You provide a physical prompt by guiding the learners hand over the mouse and clicking on the address bar.

Prompts can be used in conjunction with each other. For example:
While providing a physical prompt of guiding the student’s hand over the mouse, you may also provide the verbal prompt, “Click on the address bar.”

OR

While providing a gestural prompt of pointing to the address bar, you may also provide the verbal prompt, “The address bar is a long, white rectangle at the top of your browser window.”

 

Most to Least Prompts: As your learner gains mastery of a task at a specific level of prompting, you can decrease assistance by delaying, fading, or removing prompts. The rate approach to decreasing assistance will depend on the needs of your student. The goal is to have your learner complete the task independently and not develop a learned dependency on any specific prompt.

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Differentiation & Five Types of Prompting: Warm-Up

Teachers use differentiation and prompting to increase expressive and receptive language abilities based on individual student levels. Learn more

 

Prompting to Increase Auditory Processing and Comprehension: Guided Watching.

Teachers use differentiation and prompting to increase expressive and receptive language abilities based on individual student levels. Learn More

 

Task Attendance, Prompting & Motivation: Warm-Up

Teachers increase motivation and time-on-task attendance, laying the foundation for Workplace Behavior Training. Learn More

 

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“As we lead our students into a tech-driven future, Digitability moves students closer to their career and life goals.”     

 -Jane Cordero, M. Ed., Secondary Special Education Coordinator at Hill-Freedman World Academy.