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A Comparison of the Effects of Two Prompt-Fading Strategies on Skill Acquisition in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders


Research has demonstrated that most-to-least (MTL) and least-to-most (LTM) prompting are effective in helping children with Autism Spectrum Disorders acquire a variety of new skills. However, when directly compared to one another, the efficiency and efficacy of the prompting procedures have been variable. The inconsistencies in the literature could be due to selecting prompt topographies that do not promote correct responding. To address this, the present study began by assessing different prompt topographies and then compared most-to-least (MTL) and least-to-most (LTM) prompt-fading with only prompt topographies that were potent enough to promote correct responding. The subsequent comparison of prompt-fading procedures revealed that MTL prompting was more effective and efficient than LTM prompting for all three participants. Further implications for practice and future research are discussed.

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We thank Dr. Joseph Vedora for feedback on early revisions of this manuscript. We also thank Eliora Habshush and Ellieana Garcia for their assistance in the data collection process.

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Correspondence to Mirela Cengher.

Ethics declarations

All the procedures performed in the study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the City University of New York (CUNY).

Conflict of Interest

The first author received financial support from the Graduate Center, CUNY, to present the research data at the ABAI 41st Annual Convention in San Antonio. We believe that this funding does not create a potential conflict of interest.

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Informed consent was obtained from the caretakers of all the participants included in the study.

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All the authors agreed to submit the paper to Behavior Analysis in Practice.

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Cengher, M., Shamoun, K., Moss, P. et al. A Comparison of the Effects of Two Prompt-Fading Strategies on Skill Acquisition in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Behav Analysis Practice 9, 115–125 (2016).

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  • Least-to-most
  • Most-to-least
  • Prompt
  • Prompting
  • Prompt-fading