Reinforcer Assessments or Preference Assessments for Children with Autism

Preference for objects and activities is often fluid, changing due to satiation, time of day, environmental or other factors. A diverse assortment of potential reinforcers offers the greatest opportunity for effective intervention. Reinforcer and preference assessments provide valuable insight into the motivation of your learner. Reinforcer and preference assessments differ in what they measure. Preference assessments test the learner’s interest in objects or activities to identify potential reinforcers and reinforcer assessments measure the effects of utilizing those items or activities as reinforcers.

Is the Distinction Between Positive and Negative Reinforcement and Punishment Necessary?

Much of the terminology within ABA provides clarification that sets the technology apart from that offered in other fields. At the same time, some terms create more confusion than clarification. Newcomers to the field spend considerable time studying the terminology rather than the technology. The terms positive and negative reinforcement and punishment appear to be among the most confusing for outsiders. This raises the question, is the distinction really necessary?

Changing Reinforcement Strategies to Improve Instructional Control

Reinforcement is critical for learning, but reinforcement alone is insufficient. Instructional control determines the success of a program. Staff routinely “pair” themselves with reinforcement to establish instructional control. What if I told you that the reinforcement strategy you’re using may be making you aversive to your client?