Assistive Technology Network


Some students may need to be prompted to engage in communication. A prompt is a strategy used to assist someone in learning something new. If using prompts, it is important to note what prompting patterns are being utilized and the specific wording of verbal prompts. Prompts are an integral component in developing an intervention and AAC implementation plan.

There is a difference between “cues” and “prompts.” A cue involves providing antecedent stimuli before a behavior takes place (e.g., the music stops just before the student activates a button to request more music). Some students need help learning to respond to cues. A prompt follows the cue to assist the student in responding to the cue. We all need prompting to learn a new skill.

A prompting hierarchy should be utilized with students learning AAC. This involves providing the natural cues first and allowing sufficient wait time to respond, and if there is not a response, working through the hierarchy as needed. This Prompt Hierarchy visual provides a framework for this process. For more information on using this hierarchy, check out, Prompt Hierarchy and AAC (13-minute video).