Background to my interest in teaching children with autism

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 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.

Types of Prompts

Modelling

Full hand-over-hand prompt

Partial physical prompt

Gestural prompt

Verbal prompt

Visual prompt

Positional prompt

etc., etc.

Here is an example of Most-to-Least Prompting for a child that has some vocal language:

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.”

Teacher: “Right, it’s a cookie. What is it?” (no prompt, or a lesser degree of prompt . For example, a partial verbal prompt rather than the entire word – a “transfer trial”)

Child: “Cookie.”

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

And here is an example of Most-to-Least Prompting 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: Signs for “Cookie.”

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

Child: Signs for “Cookie.”

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

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