Pediatric Therapy Corner: How to Use Prompts Effectively When Teaching Children New Skills
[Source: Your Therapy Source]
When teaching children new skills, therapists and teachers provide instruction and prompts to complete the skill. Many times different prompts are used together to help a child learn a new skill or complete a targeted response.
There are many different types of prompts such as:
1. verbal prompts – instructions or words to direct a person to complete the skill. It is the most commonly used prompt.
2. modeling – demonstrating the skill either in person or on a video. It is the second most commonly used prompt.
3. manual prompts – physical contact from a teacher to help the child complete the skill.
4. gestural prompts – pointing, motioning or nodding toward the child or the objects to complete the skill.
5. photographs and line drawings – pictures or step by step instructions to complete the skill.
6. text prompts – written instructions, checklists, scripts and reminder lists.
Prompts are beneficial when teaching children new skills but in order for the child to become fully independent in the skill the prompts need to decrease over time until they are no longer needed.
Here are some techniques to use prompts effectively:
1. One approach is to start with the least amount of prompts possible (least to more prompting method). Begin with minimal assistance and only add additional prompts if needed. Prompt along a continuum of verbal prompt, gestural prompt,
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