What is “prompt” ?

Written by Tricia Au



Prompts are implemented to increase the opportunity for your child to succeed in learning a new skill. They are carried out subtly as indications or instructions before or during an action. Prompts aid your child to respond appropriately according to the targeted situation or skill for a better learning experience. Prompts are utilized to help your child experience a more stress free transition from learning a new skill to being independent with the skill.


There are a number of prompts that you can choose from depending on which works best for your child:


1. Physical Prompt

  • In the form of physical contact (fully or partial). For example, if you are teaching your child how to put their shoes away. You may start off by fully prompting them physically by putting your hands over their hands to keep the shoes away. You can then fade that and provide a partial physical prompt by guiding your child by the elbows.

2. Verbal Prompt

  • In the form of instructions or words (fully or partial). For example, if you are teaching your child to identify “banana”. Initially you may verbally prompt them by saying the word “banana” (fully). As the child progresses, you may prompt them by saying “ba….” (partial).

3. Visual Prompt

  • Visual prompts are pictures, objects, words, video, photograph, drawing, task schedule, etc. Something your child can see to help remind him/her respond appropriately.

4. Gestural Prompt

  • In the form of pointing, nodding and any gestures to help your child complete the targeted task

5. Modeling Prompt

  • Modeling happens when you demonstrate the targeted skill to your child.

6. Positional Prompt

  • Refers to the position of items or objects nearer to your child, hinting at him/her to choose that item or object. For example, if you are teaching your child to choose “pencil”, place a pencil and a pen in front of your child, then position the pencil nearer to your child’s reach.


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