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Skill Repertoire Building II

Skill Repertoire Building II

Author: Capella Partnered with CARD

This lesson covers the BCAT and RBT task list items from Unit 4.

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what's covered
This lesson will review the content from Unit 4: Skill Repertoire Building II by defining and discussing the following:
  1. Prompting and Fading
    1. Types of Prompting
    2. Errorless Learning
    3. Error Correction
  2. Shaping and Chaining
  3. Verbal Behavior
  4. Generalization and Maintenance

1. Prompting and Fading

To review, a prompt is a stimulus or “hint” presented in addition to the SD to assist the patient in providing a correct response.

The prompt differs from the SD in that the prompt does not stand on its own. You present a prompt with an SD to help the patient respond.

Video Transcription

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So we've talked about the three parts of the discrete trial. We've talked about the SDs, some guidelines for how to use an effective SD within a discrete trial. We've talked about the different types of responses. And we've talked about the stimulus reinforcer, the different ways to respond to the client's behavior.

Now, what is important to understand is, if we are focusing on teaching new skills to lots of our clients, which we are, our clients are not necessarily going to know right away what it is we want them to do. And so we use something that's called a prompt. And so that prompt usually occurs right around the time that we present the SD.

So it's an additional stimulus or an additional cue that we offer when we present the instruction to the client, which helps them to understand what it is we actually want them to do. So that is called a prompt.

And so we insert that prompt either immediately paired with the SD or right after the SD happens, because we want the client to make that connection of, when I hear this instruction, or when I'm given this type of question, that this is exactly the behavior that I'm supposed to engage in. So this is a really important piece of the learning process when we're teaching new skills to learners.

So we insert that prompt, which helps them to understand how to better respond when that instruction is given. And then that allows them to receive a positive consequence.

1a. Types of Prompts
A physical prompt involves providing manual guidance to the patient to facilitate a correct response. There are two different types of physical prompts:
  • Full Physical: providing guidance the whole time, sometimes called “Hand over Hand"
  • Partial Physical: providing guidance for part of the performance of the skill

Here is a review of other types of prompts we have covered:

Type of Prompt Implementation
Gestural Prompt Gesturing in some way with your body to indicate the correct response to the patient, such as a point, head nod, or eye gaze to indicate the target stimulus
Model Prompt Providing a physical demonstration of the desired behavior for the patient to imitate
Echoic Prompt Providing vocal demonstration of the desired behavior for the patient to imitate
Directive Prompt Giving instructions to guide the patient’s behavior; may include textual, visual, or other verbal cues
Proximity Prompt Altering the location or placement of a stimulus to facilitate a desired response
Stimulus Manipulation Prompt Changing some aspect of the target stimulus (color, size, shape)
Visual or Textual Prompt Presenting a picture or object (visual) or word (textual) to the patient to evoke the correct response

Video Transcription

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You got this. All right, wash the clothes.

Nice. Good job. Nice!

So what was it, cloudy, or rainy?




Good job. So what was it?




So say, cloudy.


There you go. Hey, I know that's frustrating. Let's go put it on the board. Okey dokey pokey? Come on.

So what we're going to practice right now is asking questions when you're having a conversation with somebody. So when you're talking with somebody, it's a nice idea ask them questions about what they're saying, so it shows them that you're interested in what they're talking about. OK? So we have some questions here. So this one is, where, this one is, what, and this one is, who. I'm just going to practice saying a couple of things, and then what you can do is, you can ask me one of those questions about what I'm talking about. All right?


OK. So actually, this past weekend, I did something really fun and went camping.

What did you do when you went camping?

Oh great! You know what, we did a lot of stuff. We went fishing, we went for a couple of hikes, and we had campfires, and it was really great. We had a good time. We went with some really good friends.

Remember that prompt fading is the systematic removal of a prompt across successive trials. It is the transfer of control of the behavior from the prompt to the SD/MO. With prompt fading, the prompts are gradually reduced until they are no longer needed for the patient to perform the skill independently.

Time delay prompts are prompts are faded using delays (progressive or constant) before the prompt is delivered.

1b. Errorless Learning
Errorless learning is a procedure used to teach a new skill involving the immediate prompting of the response during the initial teaching stages and systematic removal of prompts to avoid errors.

In errorless learning, we use most-to-least prompting, which is a fading procedure that uses stronger, more intrusive prompts during initial instruction and progressing to less intrusive prompts over time to enable success and independence.

Video Transcription

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Touch knees. You got it.

Touch knees. Good girl.

Touch knees. Nice working.

Touch knees. There you go.

Touch knees. All right.

1c. Error Correction
Error correction is a procedure following an incorrect or non-response that assists the patient in providing a correct response in the presence of that particular SD/MO. This is used to decrease errors in the future.

Least-to-most prompting is a type of error correction procedure that involves the use of the least intrusive prompts for that skill, while gradually increasing the intensity of prompts if needed, until the patient is successful.

Video Transcription

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I know. Tell me about it.

You got one more piece, Ben.

Right here. Good.

Good job, Ben. Good.

No-no-prompt-repeat is another type of error correction procedure consisting of the delivery of a prompt following two unsuccessful trials or attempts at responding, correcting the error of a mastered skill.

Video Transcription

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OK. Ready. Clap hands.

Almost, but try again. OK. Try again. Ready. Clap hands.

Clap hands.

Almost. Kiddo, we're going to try again. OK.

Clap hands.

Clap hands.

Yeah. That's clap hands. Get ready. Clap hands.

Clap hands.

Yeah. There you go. OK.

big idea
Recall that prompt dependency is where patients require prompting to perform a skill and the prompt cannot be faded successfully.

2. Shaping and Chaining

Shaping refers to systematically reinforcing successive approximations of a target behavior, while placing previous approximations on extinction.

Guidelines for shaping behaviors are

  1. Select the target behavior.
  2. Reinforce the initial behavior until it is under SD control.
  3. When the patient learns a better approximation, no longer reinforce the previous approximation.
  4. Continue until the patient learns the target behavior.
Chaining is a procedure that is used to teach behaviors that occur in sequences of two or more steps.

Here are some key terms to review related to chaining:

Key Term Definition
Task Analysis Breaking down a complex behavior into a sequence of components.
Forward Chaining This technique moves a patient from the first step to the last. Each step must be mastered before the next step in the skill series is added.
Backward Chaining This process focuses on the patient completing the last step in the sequence. This technique is used to give the patient quicker access to reinforcement.
Total Task Presentation A procedure used to teach all of the steps of the behavior chain during each presentation of the learning task. The behavior technician provides prompts throughout the sequence.

Video Transcription

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You need to go wash your hands, and I told you to go


Hey! Do you know what you're going to do?


All right.

All right, take your shoes off.


My God, new shoes.

Wearing new shoes, duh.


How are you today? Good, I like your skirt.

There we go.

There's plenty of meatballs that we had for lunch.

Can you put them back on?

I don't know how--

Did you have something good?

Yeah. Good job, Brandon.

We're going to eat lunch, Ms. Cecilia. It's her lunchbox.



3. Verbal Behavior

In review, receptive language refers to the ability to understand words and language, while expressive language is how a person uses language to communicate.

Verbal behavior is any behavior for which the reinforcement is mediated by another person, who has been trained to respond.

In ABA, “verbal” is not the same as “vocal.” Verbal behavior is behavior that results in reinforcement from another person.

Here are some key terms associated with verbal behavior:

Key Term Definition
Mand A request
Tact A comment about the environment
Echoic When a person “echoes” what you say
Intraverbal When the patient responds to the verbal behaviors of another person with a different but related verbal response

Video Transcription

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Can I have the key?

Yeah, that was really good asking.

Green. I guess green.



Bless you. Bless you.

Are you OK? You need some-- are you OK? Maybe you need to get a tissue.

He has a cold.





What do you do with the clothes for the kids in need?

Hang them up.

What else did we do? Tell them about how you organize things.

By size.

I wish-- you should have seen it before. This did look nothing like this.

Wow. How long does it take him?

How many weeks have we been in here, David?

I don't know, almost four, I think.



I think four, maybe five, we've been in here, but this has come a long way.

Yeah, it's taken a while.

It is taking a while, but it looks so much better. It really does.

David do you like this project?


Yeah, what do you like about it?

I don't know. I'm just waiting for it to get done.

And then how are you going to feel when it's done?

Well after we get done this room, I want to do something else.

Oh, you're looking for the next project?


4. Generalization and Maintenance

Generalization refers to when behavior change starts to occur in settings other than the instructional setting.

Types of generalization include these:

  1. Across stimuli, involving variations in instructions, materials, formats
  2. Across responses: skills or new responses that have the same function as the learned behavior emerge without being taught
  3. Across settings, involving learning to engage in a behavior (skill or response) across different locations
  4. Across people, referring to the ability to perform a learned skill or respond to cues from different people
Maintenance is the continued performance of a response after it was first learned.

To promote generalization and maintenance, we want to

  • Thin reinforcement schedules
  • Use naturally occurring reinforcement and stimuli
  • Practice skills in natural settings and with different people
  • Vary instructions, or SDs
  • Reinforce generalized skills when they occur, especially when they occur spontaneously without prompting
In this lesson, you reviewed the various types of prompting and fading, recalling that a prompt is a stimulus or “hint” presented in addition to the SD to assist the patient in providing a correct response. Next, you reviewed key terms and guidelines relating to shaping and chaining, as well as key terms associated with verbal behavior. Remember, in ABA, “verbal” is not the same as “vocal”: verbal behavior is behavior that results in reinforcement from another person. Lastly, you reviewed types of generalization, when behavior change starts to occur in settings other than the instructional setting, and ways to promote both generalization and maintenance, the continued performance of a response after it was first learned.