Sunday, August 19, 2012

Antecedent Strategy: Priming

Priming is a strategy that parents can use at home to help their children prepare for upcoming activities. As an antecedent intervention, priming is a research-supported intervention method for students with autism. The idea behind priming is to preview activities or information with a student before the student participates in that activity. Priming consists of three components: (1) it is conducted prior to an activitiy and should use the same materials, (2) priming should be a low-demand situation, focusing on tasks that are easy for the student, and (3) priming should incorporate frequent opportunities for reinforcement.

Since we know that many students with autism are more comfortable with routines and things that are familiar to them, one goal of priming is to help the student become more familiar and comfortable with activities that will be presented as school, an ABA clinic, a playgroup, or other settings.

Examples of priming including reading a book at home with a child that the child’s teacher will be reading at school that week or looking at pictures and talking about the zoo before a field trip. When choosing what to use priming with at home, look at the areas of school where the child shows the most problem behavior, difficulty paying attention, or academic difficulty. Going back to our above example, if a child has difficulty in circle time, parents could read the books and sing the songs with the child at home to prepare for doing these activities at school.

Here's a guide to priming with helpful examples:


"Priming as a Method of Coordinating Educational Services for Students with Autism" by L. K. Koegel, R. L. Koegel, W. Frea, and I. Green-Hopkins. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, Volume 34 (2003).

"Including Children With Autism in General Education Classrooms: A Review of Effective Strategies" by J. K. Harrower and G. Dunlap. Behavior Modification, Volume 25, Issue 5 (2001).

"Teaching Preschool Age Autistic Children to Make Spontaneous Initiations to Peers Using Priming" by K. Zanolli, D. Daggett, and T. Adams. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Volume 26, Issue 4 (1996)

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