A teacher sitting with her students.

Prompting in Special Education

Prompting in special education is a necessary tool. This strategy is used to increase the likelihood that a student responds correctly to a command. There are often certain cues or directions used to assist students in completing tasks or learning processes.

At Blue Parachute, we have videos that act as autism home support services, showing you how to teach your child on the spectrum or one who is preparing for adulthood the essential skills they will need throughout their lives.

Below, we delve into more detail on prompting in special education and how parents or teachers can use certain techniques to maximize effectiveness.

Types of Prompts in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) 

There are many different ways to gesture or signal to a child they need to perform a certain task. A brief overview of the most common types is detailed below. 


A gestural prompt refers to a gesture that signals the desired behavior the student needs to perform. These include pointing, nodding, or any other physical gesture. 

Full Physical

A full physical prompt is when a teacher or parent makes physical contact with a student so that the student can be guided from beginning to end of the requested activity. An example of this would be guiding a student’s hand when he or she is writing their name. 


A verbal prompt is where a teacher or parent gives the student a verbal command like “wash your hands” or “tie your shoes.” These could also come in the form of open-ended questions designed to instill a correct response. Examples of these include, “What letter comes after B?” or “After receiving something, what do we say?” 


Video prompting in autism is a combination of visual and auditory. Those considered visual include a photo or picture that acts as the directions to do something. These could be a picture of a child sitting or waving to a family member. 


An auditory prompt is a recording of an alarm or timer designed to instruct the child. These could be orders to clean up their toys or get up for school.

What Is the Prompting Hierarchy in Autism? 

If you have been looking into prompting in special education, then you have probably gotten familiar with the term “least to most prompting hierarchy.” This term is used to describe how intrusive they are.

The least intrusive prompts are verbal prompts, while the most intrusive prompts are physical guidance prompts. While it may seem that the most intrusive are the most effective, parents and teachers need to make sure that they are actively working to make children less dependent on prompts as they become more skilled. The more intrusive these are, the more assistance the child will need when learning to act more independently.  

More About Blue Parachute 

The videos available from Blue Parachute were all created by Licensed and Certified Behavior Therapists. They were made to help parents, teachers, and communities, and they can even provide support to locations without resources.

Additionally, these videos are available at subscription pricing. This ensures you can get the videos you need at a price you can afford.

Click here and sign up now to take full advantage of our library of high-quality, evidence-based resources to help individuals with ASD be set up for success and reach their full potential. Blue Parachute. Easy. Affordable. Life-Changing.


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