Reinforcement

To return back to mini-course: Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism

Introduction

Welcome to the third unit of this course. This unit consists of 2 lessons.

The first lesson is What are reinforcers?

The second lesson is What is positive and negative reinforcement?

Each lesson has it's own specific readings, videos, and assessments for you to complete.

Objective: Analyze the benefits of positive and negative reinforcement and when to use each when working with an individual with special needs.

Unit Readings

Lesson #1 Readings

  • The Psychobiology of Reinforcers; Department of Psychology McGill University

https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev.ps.43.020192.002303

Lesson #2 Readings

Arr.GIF Lesson #1: What are reinforcers?

Definition

A reinforcer is anything contingent on a behavior that increases the likelihood of a behavior occurring. In simpler terms, rewards are used to signal to an individual that he or she has responded correctly and to encourage the individual to respond the same way again. Reinforcers provide motivation and feedback to the individual.

Examples of Reinforcers

Reinforcers are important to the success of an ABA therapy program. This is because reinforcers are instrumental in attaining and shaping the right behaviors in a child diagnosed with ASD.

There are five categories of reinforcers:

1. Social Reinforcers 2. Classroom based Reinforcers 3. Activity Reinforcers 4. Material Reinforcers 5. Edible Reinforcers
  • Hugs
  • Kisses
  • Verbal Praise
  • High Fives
  • Class Party
  • Homework Pass
  • Choice Time
  • Teacher Helper
  • One-on-One Time with an Adult
  • Tickles
  • Bubbles
  • Drawing / Painting
  • Hide and Seek
  • Spin Toys
  • Pretend Play
  • Yo-Yo
  • Sticks
  • Playdough
  • Slime
  • Silly Putty
  • Token for token board that can be "cashed in" to earn a "bigger" reinforcer of choice.
  • Crackers
  • Popcorn
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Cookies
  • Candy
  • Pretzels

For a full list of reinforcers please check out the following link for a PDF document: https://www.earlywood.org/cms/lib/IN07001762/Centricity/Domain/159/Reinforcement%20checklist%203.pdf

Choosing Reinforcers

"When choosing reinforcers for people, remember that each individual will respond to different things."

  • Looking at what has motivated the child in the past
  • asking the child what they like and dislike
  • Look at their deprivation state – what do they want, that they cannot easily get?
  • Try to make sure the reinforcer is practical, ethical and valid for the behavior being targeted. [1]

Video

Let's take a look at the following video ABA Autism Training - Chapter 2 - Reinforcement

This is a video from the Autism Intervention Training Video Series that was designed for individuals in the beginning stages of learning how to conduct Applied Behavioral Analysis with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

This video defines and gives examples of different types of reinforcers. The video also describes the proper way to deliver reinforcers and provides suggestions to ensure that reinforcers maintain their interest to the child.

Now You Try: Assess Yourself

Now that you have completed the required journal articles, readings, watched selected videos, and have take notes on the lesson material, let's assess!

Answer the following prompt:

Why do you think reinforcers are important? How may you utilize reinforcers in your own teaching practices?

https://docs.google.com/document/d/12IOCGGLN8awcVfsRwVZkTJnQJRJ69VqhbVWnOYHJC6U/edit?usp=sharing

When you click the link please select file > make a copy and input your responses. Please save your document and submit it to AppliedBehaviorAnalysisAutismKnilt@gmail.com

Arr.GIF Lesson #2: What is positive and negative reinforcement?

Positive Reinforcement

In positive reinforcement something is ADDED immediately after the behavior resulting in the behavior occurring more often in the future.

Example: Jojo completes his math homework after school and immediately his mother gives him ice cream as a reward. In the future, Jojo completes his math homework right after school.

Let's Break it Down:

Positive Reinforcement Examples Pleasant Stimulus Desired Behavior
Ms.Jen gives Andrew a gummy bear for pointing to what he wants. Gummy Bear Pointing to what he wants
Mr.James gives Annabelle her slime for sitting nicely. Slime Sitting Nicely

Negative Reinforcement

In negative reinforcement something is REMOVED immediately after the behavior resulting in the behavior occurring more often in the future.

Example: Jojo is given a plate of vegetables to eat with his dinner. Jojo screams and immediately his mother takes the plate of vegetables away. When Jojo is given a plate of vegetables in the future, he screams.

Let's Break it Down:

Negative Reinforcement Examples Unpleasant Stimulus Desired Behavior
To remove the dirt from her body, Lilliana takes a bath. Dirt Take A Bath
To remove the loud noise, Josh turns off the TV. Loud Noise Turning off TV

Unpleasant Stimulus Examples:

Unpleasant stimulus is also known as aversive stimuli. Examples of aversive stimuli can include (but are not limited to): proximity of others, loud noises, bright light, extreme cold or warmth, and social interaction.

Why Are These Important?

"Positive reinforcement underlies the majority of all human behavior. We act in certain ways to obtain desirable consequences, whether it is going to work to get our paychecks, or treating others nicely in the hope they will do the same to us." [1]

"Reinforcement can be either positive or negative. This doesn’t mean good or bad. What it means is that something is either added (positive) or removed (negative). With positive reinforcement a behavior is strengthened by providing a reinforcer (a toy, activity, attention, etc.). With negative reinforcement a behavior is strengthened by stopping, removing, or avoiding a negative outcome. This is different from punishment, which adds a negative outcome in an attempt to reduce behavior." [2]

Now You Try: Assess Yourself

Now that you have completed the required journal articles, readings, watched selected videos, and have take notes on the lesson material, let's assess!

1.) Poster Creation

Please use https://www.canva.com to create an informative graphic poster explaining the difference between positive and negative reinforcers. You may choose to hand make it as well.

Create your poster > Please save your document and submit it to AppliedBehaviorAnalysisAutismKnilt@gmail.com

References

[1] “POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT AND AUTISM.” Autism, PDD-NOS & Asperger's Fact Sheets | Using Positive Reinforcement for Behavior Management of Children with Asperger's Syndrome or Autism, Synapse, 2020, www.autism-help.org/behavior-positive-reinforcement-autism.htm.

[2] Dalphonse, Amelia. “Use Positive and Negative Reinforcement Instead of Punishment.” Accessible ABA, 24 Aug. 2020, https://accessibleaba.com/blog/positive-negative-reinforcement.