Compliance was high with both adults. Over time, the
teacher-delivered instructions increased as parent-
delivered instructions decreased. Compliance contin-
ued at high levels. By the end of treatment, the
parent-delivered instructions were entirely eliminated
and compliance continued to be exhibited at high levels.
These results suggested that stimulus control over
compliance was successfully transferred from the parent
to the teacher.
Prompts have been defined by Cooper et al.
antecedent stimuli that occasion specific responses
and are supplemental to a behavioral treatment. There
are at least two broad categories of prompts: response
prompts and physical prompts. Response prompts
such as physical guidance target behavior. Stimulus
prompts target the conditions that exist prior to the
occurrence of a target behavior. Stimulus prompts are
often used as a means to occasion behavior. Once
responding is more frequent and reliable in the pres-
ence of naturally occurring stimuli, these auxiliary
stimuli can be removed.
DeQuinzio, Townsend, Sturmey, and Poulson
used prompting as part of a treatment plan for
teaching three young children with autism to imitate
facial models. Prior to treatment, all of the children did
not accurately imitate varying facial expressions (e.g.,
they cried when others smiled at them or laughed when
the facial expressions targeted for imitation in this
study. During baseline, the experimenter modeled one
of the facial expressions. During imitation training, a
combination of prompting, modeling, differential rein-
forcement, and error correction procedures was utilized.
Specific to this section of the chapter, prompting
consisted of a least-to-most hierarchy in which the
experimenter started by providing a verbal statement
(“do this”) if the participant had not imitated a facial
model within 5 s of its presentation. If the participant
still did not imitate the facial model, the experimenter
provided another verbal statement and also modeled
two facial motor movements that were topographically
related to the target response. If the child still did not
imitate the motor movements, the experimenter then
manually prompted the correct response (e.g., used two
fingers to turn the corners of the participant’s mouth up).
If the child did not imitate the motor movement following
this manual prompt, the experimenter next combined
the manual prompt with a verbal statement (e.g., “that’s
smiling”). All children consistently displayed high
rates of imitation of some of the facial models in training
relative to baseline.
Prompts have also been used to increase the social
initiations of children with autism. Taylor and Levin
used a tactile prompting device (vibrating
pager) to teach a student with autism to initiate verbal
interactions toward an adult during play activities.