Consistent reinforcement by securing the reinforcers is important to be more effective in motivating your child.
Consistent reinforcement is often dependent on the child or disabled person not attaining the reinforcer when he has not met your goal or targeted appropriate behavior. If he is able to steal or grab the item without permission it is impossible for the parent or teacher to be consisent in reinforcing only appropriate behavior displayed. Some places or methods you might use to secure your reinforcers are included in the following.
1. Place items that are reinforcers such as electronic devices or edibles such as cookies high enough so the child or person you are motivating cannot reach it (ex. on a high shelf in the kitchen) until the appropriate behavior targeted is disabled.
2. Wait until the child goes to sleep and then remove the item earned the previous day and place it in a place the child is not aware of.
3. Place items such as cookies, chips, gummy bears that are not easily perishable in a car or trunck of a car. You can use a cooler if needed. Then lock the car after you get out so that the person (ex. child) cannot attain the items without you opening the car trunk.
4. Have you items in a token store which is a cabinet or a closet with shelves and a lock on the closet or cabinet so unauthorized access can not be attained until the target behavior has been achieved.
5. If you are working with a child directly and holding the reinforcers store them in your pocket in a package or plastic bag or wear a pouch with a pocket to store the reinforcers more securely then just placing them on the table you are sitting at with the child.
6. You can use coupons for activities which is more secure or token chips to exhange later!
The above methods will assist you to ensure less conflict over when he has earned the reinforcers and more consistant reinforcement which result in higher rates and speed in learning for your child!
The strength of the reinforcer determines whether you are able to change a behavior in your child. The following is a list of tips to assist you in discovering the most powerful reinforcers.
1. The first method is simply to ask your child (assuming he is verbal) what are his favorite things or activities in the world!
2. Another technique is to talk with the child and during the conversation topics that he enjoys may come up.
3. Observation of the child is another method. The therapist or parent can spend some time just observing the child to see what he enjoys doing! If he plays with Legos everytime he has free time this may be a reinforcer for him. The Premack Principle in Psychology states in common words that the behavior that is frequently performed can be used to reinforcer lower frequency behavior. Therefore, observation to see what the child does most frequently during the day.
4. Another method are to administer an inventory or checklist which are commonly used by therapist to determine what items are reinforcing to a particular child. This can be done with the parent and or the child reporting what the want typically as reinforcers and the person records the responses on a checklist.
5. Reinforcer sampling first used with mental patients inspired by Nathan Azrin is another method used to determine what items are reinforcing. This techique utilizes a sample for the child (Ayllon, T. & Azrin, N. H. (1968). Reinforcer sampling: a technique for increasing the behavior of mental patients. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1, 13-20).
Parents should consider many of the issues below when a diagnosis for your child.
1. A diagnosis can assist in getting the correct treatment for your childs' specific problems.
2. A daignosis can lead to attainment of financial assistance necessary to attain treatment.
3. Some parents weigh the advantages of treatment verses the disadvantages of a child having a label of a diagnosis at a young age.
4. Parents often consider the benefit of treatment verses the stigma the child might have as a result of the diagnosis.
5. Parents might consider the fact that labels at a young age can be overlooked in the future once the behavior problems are resolved and the child is behaving appropriately in school and at home.
6. The long term costs of not treating a child with problems should be considered. It may cost thousands of dollars a year to care for a child with a disability or other diagnosis. The dollar costs should be considered.
7. In addition to monetary costs parents might consider the social costs to the family as well as society. The family unit can easily be disrupted with a child with behavior problems. It can affect the marriage of the parents as well as people in society they are exposed to at stores, school, church, banks or even the grocery store.
8. Finally, the child himself may have a lifetime of problems if his problems at an early age are not addressed with treatment.
The above are just a few of the things to consider in deciding whether to see a doctor or specialist and possibly receive a diagnosis as a young child.
One thing to consider is what the location is for the time out you use with your child. Parents or caregivers should make sure there is very little reinforcement available in the room used for time out. If the bedroom is full of fun toys and activities this is not an area for time out. Try to use a room with very few reinforcers or locate the toys in a separate cabinet in another play area or room so that the bedroom is not a location full of reinforcers.
People often don't realize that you can use technical procedures in behavior analysis such as task analysis to learn more complex skills. The technique of task analys involves breaking down the task into small components or steps. Each of the steps should include just one behavior for example you do not include both washing and drying hands in handwashing each is separate. The analysis can be more specific in that for a person with more difficulty learning or physical problems the therapist might break down drying hands into reaching for the towel, grasping the towel and rubbing the hands with the towel. This techniques of task analysis can also be used to teach more complex tasks. For example, the therapist might break down social interaction such as making a conversation into its finer components. The therapist could begin with just saying hello, then bringing up a topic to talk about, asking questions about that topic and complimenting the other persons' responses. Similarly, complex task such as homework, choosing a school to go to, dating skills and even driving can be broken down into steps. Task analysis can be a very useful even with high functioning individuals and with more complex tasks.
Choosing a reinforcer is one of the most important things in teaching children or developmental disabled persons. The reinforcer used will probably be the most important factor in your success in teaching something to the person. The following are some tips to consider in choosing a reinforcer.
1. First one should assess what reinforcers are the most effective for the person either with a formal assessment tool or observations of the function of the behavior.
2. Determine which of the reinforcers identified to use with each of the behaviors you are targeting for treatment or training.
3. It is helpful to try out informally the reinforcer to be sure that it is effective before formalizing your training program.
4. Try to select reinforcers that are easy to use and transport. If you are using edibles it is helpful to use individually wrapped reinforcers or edibles in small packets or that can be easily place in a cup or napkin.
5. If you are using toys as a reinforcer it is helpful to use smaller toys that are easy to transport and deliver to the child.
6. If you are using tangible items or edible items it is helpful to select items that are affordable in you budget and the families budget so that you or the family can buy them on a regular basis.
7. It is always helpful to talk with the person in treatment and give them choices about reinforcers both during the assessment and during treatment or training.
These are just a few tips to consider that may increase the speed and effectiveness of your training!
When planning the reinforcers in your child's' day one should be careful to make sure they all work together.
Including a reinforcer for good behavior the entire day, reinforcers for specific behaviors and long term reinforcers. When designing a program each of these should compliment each other. If you are reinforcing one behavior then the overall behavior for the day should not occur if a tantrum occurs for example while setting the table for a reinforcer. If you accidentally reinforce inappropriate behavior it may lead to the inappropriate behavior continuing to occur or even occurring more frequently.