Background to my interest in teaching children with autism

Teaching (Young) Children with Autism: The Preschoolers, continued

But “What is most-to-least prompting?” you ask.  Most-to-Least Prompting, also known as “Errorless Teaching/Learning” refers to the ready use of prompting to ensure the child’s success.  One way to try to ensure that the child gives the correct response (i.e., one way to prompt) is to model the response that you want to get.  Another way to prompt is to guide him/her through the behaviour, providing only as much help as he/she needs to be able to respond correctly.  Prompting is not always needed.  However, if it is needed (for the child to be successful on a particular teaching/learning trial), then the time between antecedent and prompt should usually be no more than a couple of seconds.  And remember that prompts need to be removed from the antecedent-behaviour-consequence sequence (i.e., “faded”) as quickly as possible, so that the child doesn’t become “prompt dependent.” (see 13 June 2013).  Here are a couple of examples:

Most-to-Least Prompting: A Verbal Example

     Teacher: Showing a cookie or a picture of a cookie, says “What is it?” and almost immediately says, “Cookie.” (modelling the correct response, using a verbal prompt)

     Child: “Cookie.”   — although it may be that the best he/she can do is “C, and that would be an acceptable start)

     Teacher: “Right, it’s a cookie.  What is it?” (no prompt – a “transfer trial”)

     Child: “Cookie.”

     Teacher immediately provides a reinforcing consequence while saying, “That’s right, it’s a cookie.”

Most-to-Least Prompting: A Verbal Example Using Signing

     Teacher: Showing a cookie or a picture of a cookie, says “What is it?” and immediately signs and says, “Cookie.” (modelling the correct response, using the sign and vocalization for cookie)

     Child: Sign for “Cookie.”  (with hand-over-hand prompting, if necessary)

     Teacher (enthusiastically): “That’s right, it’s a cookie (signing and saying “cookie”).  What is it?” (no prompt – a “transfer trial”)

     Child: Sign for “Cookie.”

     Teacher immediately reinforces the attempted brushing response while signing and saying “cookie.”

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