Behavior Analysis in Practice

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 315–326 | Cite as

A Comparison of Modeling, Prompting, and a Multi-component Intervention for Teaching Play Skills to Children with Developmental Disabilities

  • Jennifer QuigleyEmail author
  • Annette K. Griffith
  • Kelly Kates-McElrath
Research Article


Play skills are an essential component of a learner’s repertoire, allowing access to social interactions with peers and adults. Children with developmental disabilities frequently require explicit teaching to acquire play skills rather than acquiring them through natural learning opportunities. Without targeted practice, these deficits could continue to expand, separating the children from their typically developing peers. This study aimed to teach three children with developmental disabilities independent play skills in the form of building blocks with a diagram. We evaluated three methods of teaching play skills, prompting, modeling, and a multi-component approach, within an alternating treatment design to determine which, if any, is most effective. Each teaching strategy included a three-step prompting hierarchy and was paired with an edible reinforcer delivered following independence. Successful responses at the targeted prompt level resulted in verbal praise. Following intervention, the rate of successful responses and independent responses increased across all three participants.


Play acquisition Modeling Prompting Developmental disabilities 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Statement of Human Rights

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Institutional Review Board and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participant’s guardians included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied Behavior Analysis, OnlineThe Chicago School of Professional PsychologyChicagoUSA

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