The use of prompting in a good ABA program is essential. Prompting refers to an additional stimulus that raises the probability of a correct response. This additional stimulus / prompt is eventually faded out.
There are several types of prompts you can use to teach new skills. The following is a general guideline of prompting techniques:
- Full physical prompt
- Partial physical prompt
- Imitative prompt
- Positional prompt
- Full-echoic prompt
- Partial-echoic prompt
- Direct verbal prompt
- Indirect verbal prompt
With so many prompting techniques available, it may be a challenge to figure out which one you should choose. Someone with experience in the field can help with this. Generally speaking, people applying the verbal behaviour approach to ABA tend to use most-least-prompting.
Back in the early stage of ABA being applied to teaching skills to individuals with special needs, the no-no prompt was more common. The no-no prompt looked like this:
An instruction was given, a child would make a response. If they got it wrong, they were told it was wrong and given another try. If they got it wrong again, they were told no once again. Finally, they were given another try, and they may have been prompted at that point to make a correct response. This method was used to allow for independent responding, but it failed in teaching new skills effectively, as it allowed the learner to practice their errors more often than the correct response.The next time you place a demand , think about whether you are using the most effective prompting technique, and whether you are giving your learner enough practice at getting things “right”.