A verbal prompt is an aid in the aquisition of language and responding to others. For example a child may indicate by gesturing that they want some juice. We might say ‘what do you want?’ and the child has to say juice or some utterance resembling that in order to get the juice. A verbal prompt can be the hardest to fade because the child first learns someone will ask they for what they want before they say what they want, ie, the child can become dependent on the other person speaking first before they speak. With particular reference to children initiating language we need to find other ways to prompt.
Therapist: What do you want? Juice
At first the therapist provides the full answer that the child needs to give, when the child gestures that they want juice.
Therapist: What do you want? Jui….
After a few trials where the child is successfully repeating the word juice, the therapist gives only a partial prompt saying ‘jui...’ and allowing the child the opportunity to give the correct answer.
Therapist: What do you want? J….
The therapist has faded out her language further so now she is just saying ‘j’ with the expectation that the child will be successful in saying juice.
Therapist: What do you want? Child : ‘Juice’
The child is now responding with the full word ‘juice’
The child can now independently ask for juice when they want it. This is an example of Most to Least Prompting. The therapist starts by giving the child the full word, and fades out as the child becomes more successful. At any point at which the child did not answer juice at the level expected, the therapist would go back to the beginning and offer the full word. Most to Least prompting is a way of fading out prompts and use errorless teaching, that is, the child is does not have the opportunity to get it wrong because they are first given the whole word.