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Precision Commands

Precision Commands

Precision commands (PC) are a way to give directs to a class, small group, or individual. PC are inherently neutral, predictable, and reliable. We suggest using precision commands for EVERYTHING! When you want students to take out a book, hang up their coat, turn to a certain page, clean up, line up, and everything in between. Below is the format for delivering PC.

1. Name, direction PLEASE

Wait 3-10 seconds depending on age and cognitive level

2. Name, you NEED to direction

Wait 3-10 seconds depending on age and cognitive level

3. If the student complies reinforce- "Name, thank you for following directions", if the student does no comply follow up with a pre-planned consequence- "Name, thats not following directions, that's your warning".


Precision commands should be taught to your class and reinforced. When I teach them I do not tell students I am going to give them 3-10 seconds, I tell them I will 'give them a little time to comply'. I am often asked if the PLEASE and NEED are important, the answer is yes. Using these words makes your predictable, plus it lets your students know what to expect.

Variables that affect compliance

-Eye contact: look at the student, you don't have to force them to look at you, but look at them

-Proximity: you want to be standing somewhat close to the student, avoid delivering PC to individual students from across the room. Also, once you have said the PC move about the room, try to avoid standing near the student. This gives them time to process.

-Wait time: give the student the full 3-10 seconds. Ten seconds is a long time, count it out (in your head) and give the student the full amount of time. For students with language, processing, or cognitive delays give extra time, possibly 20-30 seconds.

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