Building Independence Through Prompt-Fading

The purpose of this study was to identify and evaluate the most effective ways to promote independence for students with mild-to-moderate disabilities. Through review of literature, research suggests that excessive adult support can demote independence and create prompt dependence or learned helplessness. Further review of literature indicated that prompting techniques and prompt hierarchy levels are effective methods for building independence when followed appropriately and consistently. The focus of this study was to develop a comprehensive training module and reference manual using this literature-based research as a training opportunity for individuals working with students who display prompt dependent behaviors. Through the training module surveys, data showed that all 17 participants in the study responded with continuously experiencing and observing these types of behaviors. Survey results also suggested that approximately half of these participants have attended some training on independence and prompting but not sufficient enough to decrease, change or avoid these types of behaviors. In addition, survey results indicated that the most commonly used prompting included verbal and gestural, which are the hardest prompts to fade. Based on the training module surveys and pre-assessment information, the researcher concluded that the participants’ awareness and understanding of prompting has significantly improved through this training and was a value tool for future implementation processes. Key Terms: Prompting, Prompt-Fading, Prompt Dependence, Learned Helplessness, Prompt Hierarchy Levels, Most-to-Least Intrusive Prompting, and Least-to-Most Intrusive Prompting