A Systematic Review of the Use of Prompting for Preschoolers With Developmental Delay

A Systematic Review of the Use of Prompting for Preschoolers With Developmental Delay

Soonhwa Seok (Above and Beyond Therapy, USA) and Boaventura DaCosta (Solers Research Group, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7630-4.ch003
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Abstract

Preschool offers numerous opportunities for teaching cognitive, social, emotional, and language skills. This is particularly important for children with developmental delay (DD), who often struggle with cognitive, physical, communication, social/emotional, and adaptive development. Prompting using verbal, gestural, and physical guidance has been widely used to teach new behaviors or skills. Given the importance of early childhood education, this systematic review examined the effect of prompting in the acquisition of new skills for preschoolers with DD. Fourteen studies using single-subject research design across nine journals served as the basis of this review. Participants' demographics, experimental design, target skills, types of prompting, independent and dependent variables, degree to which the prompting was effective, pairing, and number of prompts used in an intervention were extracted from each study and analyzed. The findings revealed the importance of prompting, and its various forms, for children with DD to support their strengths and enhance targeted skills as needed.
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Introduction

Preschool is essential for helping children learn basic life skills, such as social, communication, and hands-on motor skills, as well as language and pre-academic skills (e.g., Fahmie & Luczynski, 2018; Green et al., 2018; Hastie et al., 2018; Travers & Fefer, 2017). While early childhood schooling is viewed as a sound venue for all children to acquire new skills (DiCarlo et al., 2017; Steele et al., 2015), this learning space is of particular importance to students with disabilities. For example, children with developmental delay (DD) generally struggle in cognitive, physical, communication, social/emotional, and adaptive development. Thus, multiple strategies to enhance the learning of new skills have been implemented for these children in inclusive early childhood educational settings (e.g., Davenport & Johnston, 2015; Fentress & Lerman, 2012; Stanton-Chapman & Brown, 2015).

Specifically, instructional methods for children with DD have been created and implemented in the practice of applied behavior analysis (ABA) (Esposito et al., 2017; Seaver & Bourret, 2014). Some of these include discrete trial training (Young et al., 2016), incidental teaching (Neely et al., 2016), and chaining (Chazin et al., 2017). Each of these instructional methods includes the use of prompting as a component of the intervention.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Preschoolers: A child who attends a program offering early childhood education that helps the child learn a variety of skills needed for when they begin school.

Ineffectiveness (of the Implementation): In the context of this systematic review, if the use of the prompts was described (in the respective study) as not having had improved participants’ target skills, the objectives were not reached, or if a functional relationship between baseline and intervention was not met.

Effectiveness (of the Implementation): In the context of this systematic review, if the use of the prompts was described (in the respective study) as having improved participants’ target skills or a functional relationship between baseline and intervention was found.

Least-to-Most (Prompting Hierarchy): The least amount of support (prompting) is initially offered as the child learns a new skill, with support gradually increased as the child performs an incorrect response.

Most-to-Least (Prompting Hierarchy): High levels of support (prompting) are initially offered as the child learns a new skill, with support gradually reduced as the skill is mastered.

Prompting: Support (prompting) offered to a child to increase the likelihood that the child will make the correct response.

Developmental Delay: A child who struggles in areas, such as cognitive, physical, communication, social/emotional, and adaptive development, when compared to other children of the same age.

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