We have looked at Shaping and Chaining, now we will look at Prompting another method of teaching new behavior, task, or skill.


What is Prompts

Prompts are commands in the form of touches, demonstrations, gestures, or verbal cues/assistance that is provided to a child to encourage the child or teach the child  to respond correctly, engage in the expected behavior, or give the right response.  In other words, it is an assistance provided by an adult in a specific way before or as the child attempts to engage in the behavior, perform a task or skill. The goal is for the child to engage in the behavior or perform the skill/task independently.

  1. A prompt provides a systematic way of getting the child to perform skills independently
  2. It is used to help a desired behavior occur in the correct situation
  3. Every prompt added must eventually be faded


When you are teaching a child how to talk…maybe she/he is learning how to say her/his name and you want the child to respond to what is your name. So, the first time you will teach the name, you would say!

“what is your name?’ and you would answer “Sharon’

In this instance – You are delivering the instruction which is “what is your name?” and you are delivering the behavior “Sharon” which is giving the answer and then you reinforce the behavior…” thank you”

Think of your ABC

Example: Sharon is learning to sit down when told to sit down.

Antecedent         Prompt       Behavior Consequence
Sharon sit down Motions to the sit Sharon sits down Thank you


Prompts are great tool to teach a child learn new skills or engage in the correct behaviour, but it is most effective when you use the least amount of prompting necessary to reach the goal. It is important not to make the child rely on the prompt to carry out a task or engage in the right behaviour.

  1. What prompts are you using to teach your child?
  2. When/how do you fade the prompt?

We will look at Fading prompts and the various types of Prompts in the next post.