Constant time delay with discrete responses: A review of effectiveness and demographic, procedural, and methodological parameters

Mark Wolery, Ariane Holcombe, Catherine Cybriwsky, Patricia Munson Doyle, John W. Schuster, Melinda Jones Ault, David L. Gast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Constant time delay, a variation of progressive time delay, is a response prompting strategy designed to provide and remove prompts in a systematic manner on a time dimension. Constant time delay has two defining characteristics: (a) initial trials involve presentation of the target stimulus followed immediately by delivery of a controlling prompt; and (b) on all subsequent trials, the target stimulus is presented, a response interval of a fixed duration is delivered, the controlling prompt is provided, and a second response interval is delivered as needed. Reports of 36 studies using the constant time delay procedure with discrete behaviors were identified and analyzed. The results are described in terms of demographic variables (i.e., the types of subjects, settings, behaviors, instructors, and instructional arrangements), and the procedural parameters of the strategy. The effectiveness of the strategy and the outcome measures are summarized. Finally, the methodological adequacy of the constant time delay research is examined. Implications for practice and for further research are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-266
Number of pages28
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1992

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Preparation of this manuscript was supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Fducation and Rehabilitative Services, Field-Initiated Research Program (Grant Numbers GO08730215 and HOO23C90120). However, the opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the policy of the U.S. Department of Fducation, and no official endorsement should be inferred. The authors are grateful for the assistance provided by Dr. Donald P. Cross, Chairperson, Department of Special Education, University of Kentucky.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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