Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Prompt Dependency

Are you ready to learn about prompt dependency? Educators over-prompt and over-support a student because they are just trying to help, but it can actually end up hurting the student. 

We often don’t even realize we are over-prompting SPED students until it’s time to collect data. When students have to be prompted to give the correct answer to a question, they aren’t really learning. So what can you do?

Here’s why prompting matters

We need a reliable and comprehensive data collection process as classroom teachers, aides, and related service providers to reflect on what is working and where we can improve. After all, data is the backbone of special education. One thing that can skew data is excessive prompting. 

What is prompt dependency?

Educator Ayo Jones defines prompt dependency as when “a student cannot adjust to a situation or stimuli without a parent or caregiver helping them to initiate a behavior or response they have already mastered.”

Notice how this definition isn’t saying prompts or supports are bad, especially when students are still learning a skill. Instead, prompt dependency happens when students still rely on prompts for skills they have mastered. This keeps students from experiencing new levels of independence. 

What can you do about prompt dependency?

So we can see how prompt dependency is a problem, but what can we do to fix it? Ms. Jones has some ideas about that as well. There are simple things that you can do to decrease prompt dependency in your SPED students. 

  • Make a schedule. If you’re tired of always having to remind your students what comes next in the day, maybe your schedule isn’t clear enough. When students know what to predict throughout the day, they are more likely to be able to get ready for the next event on their own. Schedules that incorporate visual cues are particularly effective in many SPED classrooms.
  • Use script transitions. For some students, complex and multi-step routines are challenging. You can make these situations easier by using scripts or checklists. This way, your student doesn’t have to wait for your prompts to know what the next step is. 

Become a prompt expert

Want to learn more tips like these? If you’ve ever encountered a student who struggles with prompt dependency, the course, Data Collection for SPED — Prompt Dependency, will help you learn how to support your students without creating a reliance on unhelpful strategies. 

Created by Noodle Nook founder Ayo Jones, this course is all about prompt dependency and learned helplessness of students in special education classrooms. Ms. Jones is an experienced SPED teacher, speaker, and curriculum writer who has a passion to help SPED educators everywhere become the best they can be. 

In this 45-minute course, you’ll learn all about:

  • What prompt dependency is
  • Levels of prompting
  • 10 tips to reduce prompt dependency
  • Steps to prevent prompt dependency
  • Removing yourself from a task sequence

Discover more

Does this course sound like something you need? If you’re ready to dive in and brush up on your prompting skills, take a look at the demo course today. If you have any questions or need help finding courses that will help you grow as an educator, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team is here to help you find the courses that meet your unique needs.

Course Spotlight

This package includes our PD to Practice System, Gifted, and Essentials for Teaching bundles, as well as an ever-growing collection of online professional learning courses presented by recognized authors, trainers, and practitioners. This bundle gives you the ability to train and support all of your teachers while allowing each teacher to personalize their professional learning plan to meet their unique needs, all without missing a day of instruction.

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