Peel Away Prompt Dependency To Build Independence

Our students have a lot of needs and very often have come to us with some level of prompt dependency. It is imperative that we be thoughtful about how to peel away those supports while building independence and functional skills.

Our students have a lot of needs and very often have come to us with some level of prompt dependency. It is imperative that we be thoughtful about how to peel away those supports while building independence and functional skills.


Many times, our students need supports added in to their instruction and routines in order to accomplish tasks and learn new skills. I am in no way saying that we shouldn't do that. We need to build the scaffolding system needed to help our students learn and develop functional skills and routines. BUT... it is also our responsibility to SLOWLY peel back those supports to build true independence in our students.

Step 1: Choose prompts that you are able to fade. Verbal prompts are the hardest to fade, so I try to make that one of my last choices. Instead, I use visual or physical prompts if appropriate. Click the photo below if you want more info on using visuals to reduce prompt dependency.



Step 2: Even before you add the prompt, have a plan on how to fade it. If you can't think of a way to fade this prompt out, then try to find a different way to support the student.

Step 3: Implement the prompt that you feel the student needs AND have a plan to fade.

Step 4: As the student shows readiness, begin to fade the prompt. Sometimes this step is in a week and sometimes this step is in 3 months... the goal should always be to only give the smallest amount of support needed.

Always be thinking... When this student leaves my classroom, will he be able to preform this skill when I'm not there or when the environment isn't as rigid? If your answer is no... have a plan to get your student ready for that next step. Think about the barriers and attack them systematically.

Want more info on fading prompts? Click the picture below to read Fading Prompts For Independence.



Our students have a lot of needs and very often have come to us with some level of prompt dependency. It is imperative that we be thoughtful about how to peel away those supports while building independence and functional skills.


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