Positive Reinforcement

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What is positive reinforcement?

Positive Reinforcement

Since communication is such a significant problem in the treatment of autism and related pervasive developmental disorders, therapists use positive reinforcement to help their students understand which behaviors to exhibit. Positive reinforcement is simply rewards. There are a few key components to successfully use rewards as motivators in the treatment of autistic disorder. The positive reinforcement needs to be meaningful to the student. The therapist may love chocolate but if the student is indifferent to the treat it does little or no good. The child has to be motivated enough to want to complete a task in order to get his reward. Using powerful motivators in the treatment of autism helps to keep the child focused on the task and it helps to shape desired behavior. The student needs to make a concrete connection between his actions and the positive reinforcement so it is crucial that the reward is given immediately following the desired behavior. The child needs to make a connection between his behavior and the consequence. During the initial stages of ABA and discrete trial positive reinforcement needs to be used consistently and frequently. The reward should be concrete as well so many therapists use treats. The child’s favorite candy is commonly used because it can be delivered immediately and it is tangible.



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