What Is the PROMPT Method?

Speech therapist using PROMPT method with school-aged girl

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What is the PROMPT method? PROMPT stands for “Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets.”

PROMPT is a highly successful treatment method for children with motor speech disorders such as apraxia or dysarthria. Adults with similar conditions have also been shown to benefit from the PROMPT method.

Originally developed by speech therapist Deborah Hayden in the 1970s, PROMPT began as a treatment option for children with severe motor impairments who did not respond to traditional speech therapy methods.

In devising the PROMPT method, Hayden envisioned a tactile-kinesthetic way of practicing speech therapy.

As Hayden originally conceived it, PROMPT is both a method and a philosophy. It promotes a holistic approach to speech therapy and treats human communication as a fusion of social-emotional, cognitive-linguistic, and physical-sensory faculties.

PROMPT continues to evolve to this day, and therapists are constantly incorporating new research and empirical data into their PROMPT methods. The PROMPT Institute, a non-profit based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is dedicated to making the PROMPT method available for any and all children around the world suffering from motor speech disorders.

Today, PROMPT is widely accepted as a treatment method for children ages 6 months and older. These children may have autism, apraxia, dysarthria, cerebral palsy, or other motor speech disorders.

PROMPT mom-with-young-child

The PROMPT method centers on a tactile-kinesthetic approach to speech therapy.

During PROMPT, a speech-language pathologist manually guides a patient’s articulators—jaw, lips, vocal folds, and tongue—by targeting certain words, phrases, or sentences. They use touch cues to shape and support the proper movements of the articulators.

In doing so, the therapist helps the patient produce phonemes, or the smallest units of sound that distinguish one word from another.

Together, the therapist and child progress through the hierarchy of sounds at a steady pace, moving to more sounds only when the patient is ready. The patient learns through assistance and repetition to plan, organize, and create steadily more advanced vocal sounds.

PROMPT is literally a hands-on method of improving speech. At the beginning, the therapist relies heavily on touch cues to guide patients. As speech skills improve, the touch cues like training wheels are gradually removed.

Just as important as the touch cues are the social and emotional aspects of communication and speech production. The PROMPT method recognizes that practical activities and social interactions are key parts of a child’s linguistic development.

As such, the PROMPT method promotes a holistic approach in which the physical, cognitive, and social elements are all taken into account.

To be certified in the PROMPT method, a speech-language pathologist attends PROMPT training courses and meets a number of certification requirements established by the PROMPT Institute. Many of our therapists here at TherapyWorks are PROMPT certified.

What Is the PROMPT Method? 1 What Is the PROMPT Method?

If you have a child with motor-speech difficulties, you may already know that conventional articulation therapy can be frustrating and may not always produce the best results for your child.

The PROMPT method provides children with mass practice and repeated tactile, aural, and visual cues. They will see how a sound is made, hear what it should be like, and feel exactly how to produce it with their own vocal articulators.

If you think your child may benefit from a PROMPT-based treatment approach, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We’d be happy to match your child to one of our PROMPT-certified speech-language pathologists.

Get a free phone consultation or click the Get Started button on our homepage. Simply answer a few questions about your child and their specific needs, and the TherapyWorks team will follow up as soon as possible with our recommendations.

COVID-19 Protocol

We hope you and your family are continuing to stay safe and healthy! We have outlined our protocols for in-person sessions during COVID-19. As you know, the health and safety of our clients and therapists remain our highest priority. As always, please reach out with any questions or concerns. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we work together through these unprecedented times.

Hand Washing:
Upon arrival at your home, your therapist will wash their hands with soap and water and/or use hand sanitizer. We ask that you and your child also wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer upon your therapist’s arrival.
We are asking our therapists to wear masks upon entering your home and throughout your child’s session. That said, we understand that some children have adverse reactions to seeing adults in masks and will leave it up to you and your therapist to decide your comfort level while still taking safety precautions.
We ask that parents and caregivers also follow the guidelines and wear masks when sitting in on sessions. We will not enforce that policy, but we do kindly ask for compliance.
As for your child, we realize that masks may not be appropriate for every child so we will not enforce the rule that children over the age of 2 should wear a mask.  However, if your therapist insists that your child wear a mask, then that will be a requirement directly between the two of you. We respect our therapists’ individual comfort levels with safety precautions and ask that you respect them as well.


Protocol Acknowledgment and Health Certification:

Before your child’s first in-person session, we are asking clients to submit an acknowledgment of these protocols and a health certification, which you can find here. Thank you again for your cooperation and for helping all of us stay healthy!