Preschool Language and Skills/2

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Elementary Curriculum and Training » Preschool Language and Skills

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Perspective: Direct Instruction.
Its authors are committed to maintaining a high level of scholarly ethics.
Created: 2011 02 28 | Percent completed:

Reinforcer[edit | edit source]


Positive reinforcement, by definition, is an item or activity that when presented after a behavior increases the the behavior in the future. Simply, the item or activity is only a reinforcer if it increases an identified behavior.

Guidelines for use of reinforcers[edit | edit source]

  1. Sanitize the environment
    • Limit the availability and visibility of reinforcers, toys, and items. Put them up, onto a shelf in boxes that are labeled or in a locked room.
    • Every time a fun item appears, it is because you made it available, thereby making you more valuable.
  2. Approach the student with something fun
    • Approach the student with a reinforcer in an outstretched hand.
    • Make it obvious that you are approaching with something fun.
  3. Pair your voice and the environment with reinforcement
    • While pairing with the student’s reinforcers, say the student’s name and use short phrases to describe what you are doing.
  4. Make sure that what you are offering is more desirable then their current situation
    • Do not interrupt the student’s fun to do something less reinforcing.
  5. Make activities more fun
    • When a student is playing with a toy or engaged in a fun activity, do things that make it more enjoyable.
  6. Become a conditioned reinforcer
    • A conditioned reinforcer is a type of reinforcer that obtains its value by having been paired with other reinforcers.
    • Students with autism who have many conditioned reinforcers will learn important skills more easily.
    • The goal of pairing is for the student to like to be with the staff and to approach him or her without hesitation.
    • The student should be looking for ways to be with you; not escape from you.
    • Be sure this happens BEFORE you place instructional demands (ex. identifying body parts, calendar, imitation, etc.).
    • Only routine instructions should be given. For example, being asked to sit for lunch as part of the daily routine.
  1. Have at least 10 reinforcer items/activities. If you don't, shorten teaching time and build up reinforcers.
  2. Parent/therapist as reinforcer (does child come to you willingly)
  3. Will take a food reinforcer from a table and eat it.
  4. Will take a food reinforcer from hand and eat it. If not, start with popping food reinforcer into mouth at first.
  5. Will take a toy reinforcer and play with it safely (appropriately or inappropriately)
  6. No free access to reinforcer. If the student has free access, he/she might satiate on the item and then you will no longer be able to use the reinforcer as a teaching tool.

Remember: you want the student to run TO you, not AWAY from you.