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The Ultimate Guide to the Effective Use of Reinforcers, Reinforcer Assessments and Preference Assessments

Preference assessments and reinforcer assessments increase the likelihood of effective interventions, and they are simple to implement routinely in your ABA program. Reinforcers play a vital role in the success of any ABA behavior reduction or skill acquisition plan. A reinforcer is any stimulus that follows a behavior and makes that behavior more likely to occur in the future. As autistic learners often have unique interests and may respond differently to social reinforcers, you must intentionally evaluate reinforcers used in your interventions.

Preference for objects and activities is often fluid, changing due to changing motivating operations such as 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.

Utilizing effective reinforcers during teaching reduces maladaptive behavior while increasing the accuracy of responding (Mason, McGee, Farmer‐Dougan, & Risley, 1989).

Before selecting an assessment, it’s important to understand how to choose an effective reinforcer.


Characteristics of an Effective Reinforcer in ABA Choosing an Effective Reinforcer to Use with an ABA Strategy Difference Between Reinforcer Assessments and Preference Assessments Establishing Operations (EOs) Types of Preference Assessments Ask Questions Free Operant Preference Assessments Single Stimulus Preference Assessment Multiple Stimuli With/Without Replacement (MSW/O) Preference Assessment Paired Choice Preference Assessment Choosing Preference Assessments Social Preference Assessments Reinforcer Assessments Concurrent schedule reinforcer assessments Multiple schedule reinforcer assessments Progressive schedule reinforcer assessments Choosing Reinforcer Assessments Expanding Effective Reinforcers for Autistic Learners Stimulus-Stimulus Pairing Premack Principle

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Characteristics of an Effective Reinforcer in ABA

Many ABA techniques include the use of a reinforcer, but for the technique to be effective you need to choose an effective one. A powerful reinforcer will:

  • Only be provided for the desired behavior
  • Be given immediately after the desired behavior is performed
  • Provide sufficient motivation for your learner
  • Be something your learner hasn’t received too often in the past

What is reinforcing or motivating to one person, may not be for someone else. Also, what is reinforcing for someone at one time may not be at another. Each learner is unique and they change over time. To choose an effective reinforcer for an ABA strategy you need to consider the unique preferences for your learner, and adapt over time.

Also, be flexible and be prepared with a second reinforcer in case the one you’ve selected is suddenly not the best choice. If Mikayla loves M&Ms you might consider using M&Ms to reinforce certain behaviors. However, if the behavior you’re trying to reinforce happens immediately after she’s had a bowl of ice cream, the M&Ms might be less effective.

Primary vs Secondary Reinforcers

Before we jump into choosing an effective reinforcers, it’s important to understand the types of reinforces that exist naturally. There are two types, primary and secondary.

Primary reinforcers meet an elemental need and therefore have reinforcing qualities that do not lose their appeal. This would include water, food, pleasure, sleep and shelter. A learner isn’t taught to want a primary reinforcer, and in general a learner won’t need to learn how to use a primary reinforcer. These are based on a biological need and occur naturally.

While primary reinforcers are universal, a learner will have unique preferences. For example, one learner might find chocolate to be reinforcing, while another would prefer a banana.

In contrast, secondary reinforcers are anything else the learner finds motivating. It could be videos, a game, a special toy, a favorite activity or whatever your learner enjoys.

Because of the deep-seeded biological basis of primary reinforcers, they tend to be more effective than secondary reinforcers. However because these are biological needs, the learner should be able to receive these without contingency most of the time. The benefit to using primary reinforcers is twofold:

  1. They are often more motivating than secondary reinforcers.
  2. They are often consumable and therefore don’t need to be taken away from the learner at the end.

However secondary reinforcers are also effective and it’s important for your learner to develop a wide variety of reinforcers.

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Speed of Delivery

For the reinforcer to be effective, your learner must receive the reinforcer immediately after completing the behavior. This means that if she completes the behavior in the grocery store, the reinforcer shouldn’t be given to her when she gets home. Too long a delay between the behavior and the reinforcer causes the link between the two to be lost.

Instead make sure that the reinforcer you choose is something that can be delivered immediately after the behavior (within seconds). If you’re teaching a skill in the home such as brushing her teeth on her own, then you know you will be home when she completes the task and you can choose a reinforcer that isn’t necessarily portable, such as her favorite DVD. On the other hand, if you’re working on complying with demands, this is something that could happen anywhere and you should be sure that the reinforcer you select is something that you can bring with you everywhere.

Effective Reinforcer Example

You are teaching your learner Janet that she needs to sit at the table during mealtimes. As a reinforcer you have decided that if she sits for 5 minutes she will get to watch a YouTube video on her iPad at the table for the rest of the meal. At dinner she comes and sits down. You start the timer on your cell phone and place it where Janet can watch the numbers count down. At the end of 5 minutes she is still sitting patiently at the table and you say, “Great job Janet!” You immediately hit play on the iPad that was already on the table by her side with her favorite video up and ready to go. As a result, she sits at the table during mealtimes more often.

Ineffective Reinforcer Example

You are working with your learner Caleb on climbing into his car seat You decide to reinforce this behavior by letting Caleb jump on his trampoline for 5 minutes. One day you are out in the community and Caleb calmly climbs into his car seat. You tell him, “Great job! As soon as we get home you can jump on your trampoline!” On the way home, Caleb becomes upset when he asks for a cookie but is told he can’t have one and starts crying and keeps crying until you get home. When you get home, you take Caleb out of the car seat and bring him to the trampoline.

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In order for the reinforcer to be effective, your learner must do something to get it. Receipt of the item or activity has to be contingent on your learner completing the task or behavior. If they sometimes get the reinforcer just to keep them busy, but other times are given it for completing a behavior the reinforcer won’t be as motivating for your learner. Also, if you give them the reinforcer even if they don’t complete the task then your learner will be less motivated to perform the task.

Instead, choose a reinforcer that you can withhold except as a reward for completing the desired task or behavior. Only give the reinforcer if the task has been performed. Remember, the reinforcer will change over time so you won’t be taking away his favorite matchbox car forever.

Effective Reinforcer Example

You are using a token board to teach your learner Jill to get herself ready for school in the morning. You give her a token for each task she completes without being reminded. On the list are: get dressed, brush teeth, brush hair, eat breakfast. If she completes all 4 tasks without being reminded then she can play a game on the iPad until it’s time to leave for school.

With just 10 minutes left until it’s time to leave, you look at Jill’s token board. You ask Jill if she has completed each task but discover she forgot to brush her teeth. She runs into the bathroom and quickly brushes her teeth. When she comes out she asks to play her game. “You didn’t get all 4 of your tokens today so you can’t play the game. I’m sure you’ll do it tomorrow though!”

Ineffective Reinforcer Example

You’re teaching Johnathan to stay with you in the grocery store instead of wandering off. As a reinforcer you will buy him his favorite cookies. As you go through the aisles Johnathan is staying with you and you throw the cookies in the cart. In the produce area, after you pick several apples from the display you turn and find Johnathan heading to the bakery to get a free cookie. You throw the apples into the cart and race after him.

As you’re putting the items on the belt you notice the cookies. It feels like more effort to put them back than to just buy them, besides your husband likes them too. You put the cookies on the belt with the other items and reach into your wallet for your credit card.

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Your learner is only going to work for a reinforcer if he has a strong preference for it. Don’t assume that just because many people are motivated by candy or money that your learner will be as well. Look for items or activities that your learner enjoys above all others.

In addition, when you are trying to teach a more challenging behavior or skill the desire or motivation to receive the reward has to be greater. Think of teaching skills along a continuum from easy to difficult. When teaching easier skills use a reinforcer that your learner enjoys, but save their absolute favorite items for teaching a more challenging skill. The quality of the reinforcer must match the learner’s perceived effort for the task.

If your learner has very limited interests or few things that are actually motivating, it’s possible to expand the items that serve as a reinforcer through pairing (click here to jump to that section of the post).

Effective Reinforcer Example

Your client William prefers being in just his underwear so when he gets home he immediately strips off his clothes. This was okay when he was little but now that he’s getting older you want him to leave his clothes on. He loves Legos more than anything, but he especially loves the new Batman Lego set he got for his birthday. You store the set on a high shelf in the living room. If he doesn’t take off his clothes when he gets home, you allow him to play with the set for 10 minutes before being asked to do anything else.

Ineffective Reinforcer Example

You are trying to get your children, Jacob and Tanya to do more chores. They are 7 and 8 years old and you feel it is time they did more around the house. As incentive you begin giving them $1 a day every day they do their chores. In the first couple of weeks you realize that Tanya who is only 7 is more consistently earning her dollar than Jacob. It’s not that Jacob isn’t capable of doing his chores. He has autism but the chores you’ve selected are ones that he’s done many times.

Over time you realize that Tanya is much more excited about earning the money than Jacob is. Jacob just doesn’t care about money and would rather play a game on the iPad. You begin to wonder if maybe that would be a better reinforcer for Jacob.

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Finally, for a reinforcer to be effective, the reinforcer must not be something they have had too often in the past. If your learner has earned their reward several times a day for a few weeks then they may not be as excited about getting the reinforcer. They become satiated with it and it loses its effectiveness.

Watch for signs that your learner is losing interest in the reinforcer. Then be prepared to change it from time to time to keep her interested.

Effective Reinforcer Example

Your learner Adam hates sitting still and refuses to sit to do his homework. You’ve been working with him for several weeks and he will now sit for 10 minutes while doing school work. You reinforce this behavior by allowing him to jump on the trampoline for 5 minutes at the end of each homework session. Gradually you increase how long he sits by 1 minute every couple of days.

You are proud of the progress he’s been making. However you start to notice that he is getting fidgety toward the end of his homework session. Because of this you decide to give him 5 minutes on the swing instead of the trampoline at the end of the 10 minutes. The weather is just starting to warm up. Since he hasn’t used his swing since the fall he’s excited about the swing and has an easier time working for the allotted 10 minutes. It’s working so well you’re ready to increase his time to 11 minutes tomorrow.

Ineffective Reinforcer Example

Mealtime has always been a struggle with your learner Becca. She hates eating anything except pasta (and candy) and sometimes won’t even eat the pasta. For a while her parents cut out candy all together in hopes that she would eat something else, but this hasn’t worked. To get her to eat a wider variety of food you have begun offering her M&Ms at the end of the meal. In the beginning she was really excited to be getting candy again and would take a small bite of one or two new foods to earn her reward.

This was working well for the first week, but eventually she started refusing even these small bites. You don’t understand why all of a sudden she has stopped even trying to earn the M&Ms.

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Summary of Effective Reinforcers

The table below summarizes the examples above:

Effective ReinforcerIneffective Reinforcer
Speed of DeliveryImmediately hit play on a video at the end of the 5 minute interval.Tell learner he can jump on the trampoline when they get home.
ContingencyWithhold reinforcer when learner doesn’t get the 5 tokens needed to earn it.Buying cookies even though the learner walked away from you in the grocery store.
Preference/DesireUse the highly preferred Batman Legos as a reinforcer.Use money as a reinforcer, assuming that all learners desire money.
FrequencyChange reinforcer from jumping on the trampoline to using the swing to avoid satiation.Use M&Ms at the end of every meal.

Choosing an Effective Reinforcer

You have many options to choose from when selecting a reinforcer. Use their favorite activity such as watching a video or listening to music, select a favorite toy like a train or Playdough, or simply reward them with tickles or a hug if that’s what your learner enjoys. The key is to choose something that will motivate her.

You may have to try several reinforcers before you find the most effective ones. Don’t assume you know. She might surprise you. Reinforcer and preference assessments can help you find the best ones.

For more on choosing an effective reinforcer for ABA you should also watch this helpful video: Choosing Effective Reinforcers to Help Children With Autism Get the Most Out of ABA! by Jessica Leichtweisz:

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Difference Between Reinforcer Assessments and Preference Assessments

Although both a reinforcer assessment and a preference assessment strive to identify effective reinforcers, there’s a distinct difference between the two. Preference assessments identify stimuli as potential reinforcers while reinforcer assessments determine the effectiveness of those stimuli as reinforcers.

Essentially, you use the preference assessment prior to implementing reinforcement. You then collect data on the effects of that reinforcer during implementation and use that data to conduct the reinforcer assessment. While it’s unlikely you will need to conduct a reinforcer assessment in your daily practice, here are some of the basics. When conducting a reinforcer assessment you:

  • Compare 2 or more reinforcement conditions to compare the rates of responding
  • Use concurrent, multiple, or progressive-ratio schedule of reinforcer assessment

A reinforcer assessment offers some clear answers as to ranking reinforcers in terms of effectiveness or determining the demand threshold for reinforcer effectiveness. While these assessments may be used in research or under controlled conditions, they are impractical for daily use. Focus your attention on understanding preference and preference assessments unless presented with a valid reason for taking the time away from intervention to conduct a reinforcer assessment.

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Establishing Operations (EOs)

Preference for stimuli shifts over time in relation to several different variables related to establishing operations (EOs). EOs are environmental variables that impact the effectiveness of a specified stimulus as a reinforcer at a given time (Cooper, Heron & Heward, 2007). An EO affects the reinforcer by either increasing or decreasing its value at any given moment.

When the effect is an increase in effectiveness of the reinforcer, we refer to it as a motivating operation (MO). When the effect is a decrease in effectiveness, we call it an abolishing operation (AO).

Establishing operations are helpful in understanding why reinforcers become more or less effective at different times. Keep in mind that these effects are constantly changing. To ensure effective reinforcement, alter the reinforcers used based on the establishing operations in effect at that moment.

Look at this example:

You want to determine the potential of using juice as a reinforcer with your client Kevin. You conduct your first preference assessment after he has breakfast, a smoothie with vitamin supplements. During this assessment, he demonstrates low motivation for juice and seems to prefer a toy truck. You conduct a second preference assessment after a morning snack of pretzels. This time, he seems much more motivated for the juice. You use the juice as a reinforcer during several trials, but Kevin grabs the bottle and downs most of the bottle before you grab it from him. During the next trials, Kevin’s motivation is very low. Why the difference in motivation?

The answer is EOs.

  • The smoothie Kevin had for breakfast served to have an abolishing operation (AO) for juice. The smoothie was filling and quenched his thirst. He didn’t want more to drink after the smoothie.
  • The pretzels served as a motivating operation (MO) because they made him thirsty. A salty snack increases his motivation for something to drink.
  • Drinking a large amount of the juice was another abolishing operation (AO). He became satiated and no longer wanted juice.

You can use establishing operations to your advantage when you understand them. Withholding access to a preferred item creates a sense of deprivation. Granting access to that item starts the process of satiation. How quickly satiation and deprivation impact motivation depends on the learner and their level of preference for a stimulus.

Gottschalk, Libby, & Graff, (2000) conducted a study that evaluated the effects of satiation and deprivation on preference assessment outcomes. To establish satiation, they allowed free access to the item for just 10 minutes prior to the assessment. To create a sense of deprivation, they withheld access to the item for 48 hours prior to the assessment. As expected, satiation resulted in decrease motivation for an item, and deprivation increased motivation. The amount of time required for satiation and deprivation varies depending on the learners and the specific item, but they play a critical role in motivation.

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Types of Preference Assessments

There are several options when trying to identify potential reinforcers. The following list is presented in a loosely ranked order from least intrusive/time consuming to more intrusive/time consuming.

Ask Questions

While it may sound obvious, many times we simply forget to ask either the client or stakeholders (i.e. parents, teachers, etc.) what the learner likes. Parents who have a solid foundational understanding of ABA may be able to tell you what they use as reinforcers. Other times, parents might give you clues about what the learner likes and with a few more questions, you may be able to uncover some strong reinforcers. Take note when parents say they don’t allow their child access to something or when they refuse to restrict access to something because of the behavior it provokes. This might demonstrate a strong preference for an item or activity. Offer to work with the parents to help them overcome the behavior. Often simply by making the item or activity contingent on performing some behavior this intense reaction diminishes.

Many learners can verbalize what they like. Try asking open-ended questions, offering choices or asking them to rank order some of the things they like. They may come up with simple ideas you had never thought about. Alternatively, they may suggest items or activities that are too big or impractical to use. When this occurs, make some alternative suggestions or choose a behavior that is worth the value of their suggested item or activity.

Here’s a real example:

An 8-year-old told his parents he wanted an expensive toy (one worth $50 that his parents were considering buying for his birthday). His parents often had difficulty telling him no because of his intense reaction (he often became aggressive and threatening). They told him he could have the toy but first he had to sleep in his own bed 7 nights in a row.

For his parents, it was a win-win solution. If he refused, they could save the toy for his birthday. If he slept in his own bed, it was well worth the investment to them. In the end, he slept in his bed for 7 nights and after establishing this routine, he rarely asked to sleep in his parents’ bed and accepted being told he needed to sleep in his own room.

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Free Operant Preference Assessments

According to Cooper, Heron and Heward (2007), “the activities that a person engages in most often when able to choose freely from among behaviors will often serve as effective reinforcers when made contingent on engaging in low-probability behaviors.” What this means is if you pay attention to what a learner does when given the chance to do anything, those behaviors he engages in can serve as reinforcers. This is a free operant observation.

During a free operant observation, the learner has unlimited access to anything available in the environment. You can create a contrived free operant observation by adding items to the environment that you suspect may be of interest to the learner or you may choose to conduct a naturalistic free operant observation and only allow items natural to the environment. In either case, you will observe the total duration the learner engages in each activity to arrive at a rank order.

A major benefit to free operant assessments is the ability to observe the learner engage in stereotypic behavior. For some learners, stereotypies hold some powerful reinforcing value. Many learners can’t say that what they really want to do is engage in stereotypy. Often the only way to know this is to watch the learner.

Check out this video to see how a contrived free operant observation is conducted:

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Single Stimulus Preference Assessment

The single stimulus assessment is a trial-based assessment during which stimuli are presented one at a time. It is also referred to as the successive choice method of stimulus presentation during an assessment. Present each item one at a time in a random order and note the learner’s reaction to the item. Does he accept or reject the item? Note how long he engages with each item. Each item should presented multiple times varying the sequence of presentation.

While this method offers a simple solution, it also provides limited information. You may be able to get some idea of level of preference when you collect data on how long the learner engages with each item, but by the end of your assessment, the learner may be satiated with his highest preferred items. This method of presentation may be best suited to reduce the number of items presented during a more structured assessment.

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Multiple Stimuli With/Without Replacement (MSW/O) Preference Assessment

Multiple stimuli with or without replacement provides a rank order of preference for the presented stimuli. When conducting these assessments, present an array of stimuli in random order and ask the learner to choose 1 item. Allow the learner a few moments to engage with the item before taking it and either returning it to the array (MSW) or removing it from the array (MSWO).

Through repeated presentation, the learner selects his most reinforcing choices. The MSWO with as few as 3 items can provide you with a ranking of potential reinforcers (Carr, Nicolson, & Higbee, 2000).

For many learners, frequent preference assessments are necessary to maintain motivation. Learners with sufficient vocabulary may simply tell you what they want to work for. Other learners need a more structured assessment. Download the data sheets below for your use during preference assessments.

Take a look at this video to see how to conduct an MSW:

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Paired Choice Preference Assessment

A paired choice (also called paired stimulus or forced choice) assessment systematically presents all selected items paired with each other and alternating sides of presentation. This is the most time consuming of all of the preference assessments, but provides reliable information about the hierarchy of preferences for your client.

When you struggle to identify effective reinforcers for your client, it may be worth your time and effort to conduct this formal assessment; however, it can be confusing and difficult to run accurately. The below data sheet allows you to assess 5 items and shows in which position (left or right) the item should be placed. Circle the number corresponding to the number of the item selected and choose “N” for no response or no selection (if the learner grabs both items simultaneously). Find the total number of times each item was selected and then calculate the percentage to find your rank.

Check out this video about paired choice preference assessments:

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Social Preference Assessments

Each of the above preference assessments looks at possible tangible reinforcers. Although many of our learners benefit from the use of tangible reinforcers, this type of reinforcement is not widely available in the natural environment. Social reinforcers are one of the most commonly available types of reinforcers in the natural environment, but it can be difficult to assess what types of interactions will be most effective for a specific learner.

Morris and Vollmer (2019) used a social interaction preference assessment (SIPA) to identify a hierarchy of preferences for social interactions. The purpose of using the SIPA is to determine the specific types of social interactions that hold reinforcing value for a learner. By identifying these preferences, behavior analysts can tailor intervention programs to capitalize on the learner’s preferred social interactions, thereby increasing motivation, engagement, and overall treatment efficacy.

The SIPA provides a systematic approach to assess an learner’s social interaction preferences. This assessment consists of presenting various social interaction options to the learner and measuring their engagement and preference for each option. The specific methods employed in the SIPA may vary, but common strategies include direct observation, choice-based assessments, and self-reporting measures.

During the assessment, a range of social interactions is presented, including but not limited to conversational interactions, cooperative activities, physical play, and shared interests. The learner’s level of engagement and preference for each interaction is evaluated through direct observation, recording durations of engagement, and analyzing qualitative data such as facial expressions and verbal responses.

Once the preference assessment is complete, the behavior analyst can use the results to identify the most preferred social interactions. These preferred interactions can then be incorporated into the learner’s programming as reinforcers. By utilizing preferred social interactions as reinforcement, behavior analysts can increase the learner’s motivation and compliance with various interventions using stimuli that is likely available in the natural environment.

The SIPA also allows behavior analysts to identify potential barriers to social interaction engagement. If certain types of social interactions consistently yield low preference ratings or minimal engagement, it may indicate areas that require additional support or intervention. For example, if a learner consistently demonstrates low preference for conversational interactions, the behavior analyst may need to develop strategies to enhance communication skills or address underlying social difficulties.

Assessing preference for types of social interaction in ABA not only helps in identifying effective reinforcers but also promotes the development of social skills and overall social integration. By understanding and incorporating a learner’s preferred social interactions, behavior analysts can create supportive and engaging environments that foster positive social interactions and enhance overall quality of life.

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Choosing Preference Assessments

With all of the options listed above, how do you choose the right assessment for your situation?

Cooper, Heron and Heward (2007) offer some advice in choosing an assessment:

  • Pay attention to your learner’s activities before the assessment to determine what EOs may impact the assessment
  • Determine if it’s more important to identify a reinforcer quickly or more accurately
  • Decide if you want an assessment that ranks different stimuli or if you prefer one that occurs more frequently to address changes in preference
  • Use a brief assessment with a smaller array of stimuli when time is limited
  • Consider using data from different assessment methods to obtain the most accurate results

Although there may be times when it makes the most sense to conduct a thorough, contrived assessment, research shows that frequent, brief assessments (such as the MSW or MSWO) provide sufficient information to identify potential reinforcers. Roane, Vollmer, Ringdahl, Marcus, (1998) found that conducting a brief 5 minute free-operant assessment reliably identified potential reinforcers without the need for relying on more time-consuming methods like the paired-choice assessment.

Looking for potential reinforcers? My clients love the toys available in these 2 packs:

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Reinforcer Assessments

Ensure the most effective use of reinforcers by routinely monitoring the effectiveness of reinforcers using reinforcer assessments. Regular systematic reinforcer assessments lead to reduced maladaptive behavior and higher correct responding (Mason, McGee, Farmer‐Dougan, & Risley, 1989). Reinforcer effectiveness occurs along a continuum rather than as distinct extremes (effective or not effective), thus these assessments provide a hierarchy of effective reinforcers.

Reinforcer assessments involve systematically presenting a variety of potential reinforcers to the learner and measuring their level of engagement, preference, and the impact of each reinforcer on behavior. These assessments aim to identify the specific stimuli or events that reliably increase the occurrence of desired behaviors or task completion. Three variations of reinforcer assessments allow for a thorough analysis of reinforcer effectiveness:

  • Concurrent schedule
  • Multiple schedule
  • Progressive schedule
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Concurrent schedule reinforcer assessments

Concurrent schedule reinforcer assessments compare the effects of two stimuli to determine which will produce the more desirable effect in responding and/or behavior reduction when presented as a consequence.  The reinforcer that produces the highest rate of responses and/or lowest rates of maladaptive behavior is the more effective reinforcer.

  • Use stimuli identified as potential reinforcers through preference assessments.
  • Ensure the presentation of similar tasks and tasks of similar difficulties.
  • Example:
    • When comparing the effectiveness of bubbles and slime as reinforcers, alternate the use of each reinforcer during a single DTT session, then compare the data collected on trials. If a higher rate of responding was observed during trials where bubbles were presented as a reinforcer, this is the more effective reinforcer.

To conduct a concurrent schedule reinforcer assessment, follow these steps:

  1. Select a variety of potential reinforcers: Choose a range of stimuli, activities, or events that have the potential to function as reinforcers for the learner. These could include preferred toys, snacks, social interactions, or access to preferred activities.
  2. Set up a concurrent schedule: Create a situation where two or more potential reinforcers are available simultaneously. This can be achieved by placing each reinforcer in a different location or making them accessible at different times.
  3. Observe and record responses: Allow the learner to freely choose between the different reinforcers. Observe their behavior and record the frequency, duration, or any other relevant data associated with each reinforcer. This could include how often they approach, engage with, or consume each reinforcer.
  4. Analyze the data: Examine the recorded data to determine the relative preference and effectiveness of each reinforcer. Look for patterns and trends that indicate which reinforcers are most preferred and have the strongest impact on behavior.
  5. Use the results to inform interventions: Based on the assessment findings, select the most preferred and effective reinforcers to incorporate into the learner’s ABA program. Utilize these reinforcers to motivate and reinforce desired behaviors, increasing the likelihood of behavior change and skill acquisition.
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Multiple schedule reinforcer assessments

Multiple schedule reinforcer assessments compare the effects of two stimuli across two separate sessions using the same schedule of reinforcement for the same behavior with a specific SD present that signals which reinforcer is available during that session. The more effective reinforcer is the one used in the session associated with the highest rate of responding.

  • Use stimuli identified as potential reinforcers through preference assessments.
  • Ensure minimal variation between sessions and distinct SDs to distinguish the availability of the reinforcer (i.e. color cards, images of the reinforcer, etc.).
  • Example:
    • When comparing the effectiveness of a video on the iPad and an interactive game on the iPad, post an image of the learner’s favorite video on the wall next to the DTT space during the session where the video is available, and post an image of the learner’s favorite game on the wall next to the DTT space during the session where the game is available. Collect trial-by-trial data during each session. The session where higher responding occurred is associated with the more effective reinforcer.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to conduct a Multiple Schedule Reinforcer Assessment:

  1. Select a variety of potential reinforcers: Choose a range of reinforcers that may be motivating for the learner. These can include toys, activities, snacks, or other preferred items.
  2. Prepare the materials: Set up the assessment environment by organizing the potential reinforcers in a visible and accessible manner. Each reinforcer should be presented individually.
  3. Present the reinforcers: Introduce one potential reinforcer at a time to the learner. Allow them a specified amount of time to interact with or explore each reinforcer.
  4. Observe and record: Note the learner’s reactions, engagement level, and duration of interaction with each reinforcer. Record data on their preferences, such as choosing one reinforcer over another or spending more time with a particular item.
  5. Rotate and repeat: Continue presenting the reinforcers in different sequences to prevent order effects. Ensure that each reinforcer is presented multiple times to obtain reliable preference data.
  6. Analyze the results: After completing the assessment, analyze the data collected. Identify the preferred reinforcers based on the learner’s choices, duration of engagement, and overall preference rankings.
  7. Utilize the findings: Incorporate the most preferred reinforcers into the learner’s ABA program. Use these reinforcers to motivate and reinforce desired behaviors or task completion effectively.
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Progressive schedule reinforcer assessments

Progressive schedule reinforcer assessments measure the breakpoint at which a reinforcer’s effectiveness declines. It compares the relative response effort a learner is willing to emit to gain access to a given reinforcer. The interventionist systematically increases the response required for the learner to achieve reinforcement, regardless of responding. The breakpoint occurs when responding declines. The more effective reinforcer is the one associated with the highest breakpoint (the highest rate of responding). 

  • Use stimuli identified as potential reinforcers through preference assessments.
  • Plan the systematic progressive schedule (how often and how much will response effort required be adjusted). Maintain the same schedule across all test sessions.
  • Example:
    • When comparing the effectiveness of swinging and jumping on the trampoline as reinforcers, systematically increase the response effort required to earn reinforcement (i.e. reinforcement after 5 trials, 10 trials, 15 trials, 20 trials, etc.). The reinforcer associated with the highest rate of responding is the most effective reinforcer.

Here is a general outline of how to conduct a progressive schedule reinforcer assessment:

  1. Select the reinforcer: Choose a preferred reinforcer that you want to assess. It could be a tangible item, activity, or social interaction.
  2. Establish a baseline: Determine the baseline level of response effort required for the reinforcer. This can be done by observing the learner’s natural response patterns or by setting an initial low response requirement.
  3. Gradually increase response requirements: Start with the baseline level of response effort and gradually increase it over subsequent assessment sessions. For example, if the baseline response requirement was pressing a button once, increase it to pressing the button twice, then three times, and so on.
  4. Observe and record responses: During each assessment session, observe and record the learner’s responses to meet the increasing response requirements. Note the level of engagement, motivation, and completion of the required responses.
  5. Analyze the data: Examine the data collected from each assessment session to determine the point at which the learner’s engagement or responding begins to decline. This indicates the minimum response requirement needed to maintain motivation for the reinforcer.
  6. Set the progressive schedule: Based on the analysis, establish a progressive schedule that specifies the response requirements needed to access the reinforcer in future interventions or programming.

By conducting progressive schedule reinforcer assessments, behavior analysts can identify the optimal response requirements that maintain motivation and engagement for specific reinforcers. This information can then be used to structure interventions and behavior support plans that are tailored to the learner’s preferences and needs, leading to more effective outcomes in applied behavior analysis.

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Choosing Reinforcer Assessments

When it comes to choosing between different types of reinforcer assessments in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), understanding the characteristics and purposes of each assessment can help guide the decision-making process. Each assessment offers unique advantages and considerations, and selecting the appropriate one depends on the specific goals and needs of the learner receiving ABA services.

Use this table to compare the 3 types of reinforcer assessments.

Reinforcer AssessmentDescriptionAdvantagesConsiderations
Concurrent ScheduleSimultaneously presents multiple reinforcers, measures preference.– Provides direct comparison of reinforcers.
– Efficient and time-saving.
– Helps identify highly preferred reinforcers.
– May not capture nuanced differences in preference.
– Limited to a comparison between the presented reinforcers only.
– Does not provide information on the strength of preference.
Multiple SchedulePresents different reinforcers in predetermined sequence, compares impact.– Allows for a systematic comparison of different reinforcers. – Captures differences in responding across sessions.
– Provides information on relative strength and effectiveness of reinforcers.
– Requires multiple sessions and careful design to ensure accuracy.
– May be time-consuming and resource-intensive.
– Relies on accurate measurement and analysis of responding during each session.
Progressive SchedulePresents reinforcers of increasing magnitude based on responding.– Allows for fine-tuning of reinforcement levels.
– Assesses effectiveness of a range of reinforcement magnitudes.
– Provides insights into optimal level of reinforcement for behavior maintenance.
– Requires careful design to establish reliable progression of reinforcement.
– May require adjustments and refinements to accurately determine optimal level.
– Involves systematic manipulation of reinforcement levels, requiring expertise and ethical considerations.

When choosing between these reinforcer assessments, consider the specific goals and context of the assessment. If the aim is to quickly identify highly preferred reinforcers, the concurrent schedule may be appropriate. If a comprehensive evaluation of the effectiveness and hierarchy of reinforcers is desired, the multiple schedule may be more suitable. The progressive schedule is beneficial for determining the optimal level of reinforcement necessary for behavior maintenance.

Additionally, consider factors such as time constraints, available resources, and the learner’s abilities and preferences. It is also important to adhere to ethical guidelines and ensure the assessments are conducted in a respectful and responsible manner.

Below is a simple data sheet that can be used to record the “break point” or the point at which the learner’s responding decreases for each reinforcer tested. Simply write in the response required to diminish responding. Click the image below to download the data sheet.

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Expanding Effective Reinforcers for Autistic Learners

A number of autistic learners have extremely limited effective, tangible reinforcers. Other learners may be motivated by stimuli that are either not readily available, difficult to deliver, or contextually inappropriate. This might include activities such as jumping, running, screaming, or banging a hand on a hard surface. Other learners may be limited to unhealthy edible reinforcers such as candy or chips.

For these learners, frequent preference assessments and reinforcer assessments help identify current interests, but may lack practicality. Time may initially be better spent in attempting to expand their array of potential reinforcers.

Use pairing and the Premack Principle to associate existing reinforcers with other stimuli that may serve as more practical reinforcers. This often works best when the new reinforcer is somehow related to existing reinforcers, but that’s not always necessary. Here are some examples:

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Stimulus-Stimulus Pairing

Stimulus-stimulus pairing is the process of combining a previously identified reinforcer with a neutral stimulus to increase the value of the neutral stimuli. Leaf et al. (2012) found that having a preferred adult play with a neutral stimulus while the learner observed led to greater preference for that item. This effect occurs similarly when a preferred stimulus is associated with a neutral stimulus.

Here are the steps involved in using stimulus-stimulus pairing to expand a learner’s preferences for reinforcers:

  1. Identify Preferred Reinforcers: Begin by identifying the learner’s highly preferred reinforcers. These can be activities, items, or events that consistently elicit positive responses and motivate the learner.
  2. Choose Neutral Stimuli: Select neutral stimuli that are likely to be encountered regularly in the learner’s environment. These can be objects, pictures, or simple words.
  3. Pair Preferred Reinforcers with Neutral Stimuli: Present the neutral stimuli immediately before or simultaneously with the delivery of the preferred reinforcer. This pairing should occur consistently and repeatedly over several trials or sessions.
  4. Observe and Reinforce Responses: Pay close attention to the learner’s responses during the pairing process. If the learner shows positive reactions or engages with the neutral stimuli, provide additional reinforcement by delivering the preferred reinforcer.
  5. Gradually Fade the Reinforcer: As the learner begins to associate the neutral stimuli with reinforcement, gradually reduce the frequency of providing the preferred reinforcer. Instead, reinforce responses to the neutral stimuli intermittently, while maintaining a positive and engaging environment.
  6. Expand Reinforcer Options: Introduce new neutral stimuli and repeat the pairing process with different preferred reinforcers. This helps expand the learner’s preferences for a wider range of stimuli.
  7. Monitor and Assess Progress: Continuously monitor the learner’s responses and preferences for the previously neutral stimuli. Assess whether the pairing process has been successful in establishing new conditioned reinforcers and expanding the learner’s repertoire of preferred stimuli.

It is important to note that stimulus-stimulus pairing requires consistency and patience. Each learner is unique, and the process may take time to yield desired results. Reinforcer preferences may also change over time, so ongoing assessment and adjustment of the pairing process may be necessary.

By using stimulus-stimulus pairing, behavior analysts can effectively expand a learner’s preferences for reinforcers, increasing motivation and engagement across a wider range of stimuli. This technique helps create a more diverse and adaptable reinforcement system, enhancing the effectiveness of behavior change interventions and promoting positive learning experiences.

Here’s an example:

Your client, Jimmy has demonstrated a preference for few potential reinforcers including running back and forth across the room and M&Ms. You often work with him in the library and have been repeatedly asked by the librarian not to allow him to run across the room. There is also a strict no food policy, but you have gotten consent to bring M&Ms into the library if Jimmy doesn’t run while he’s there.

You determine that Jimmy’s success in this environment depends on identifying a new potential reinforcer. As he has ready access to an iPad across environments, you feel this would be a practical reinforcer despite the fact he has shown no real interest in any of the apps on it.

You choose a bubble pop app for its simplicity. Each time Jimmy pops a bubble, you give him an M&M. Over the course of several weeks, you gradually reduce the rate of M&M delivery, yet you notice Jimmy reaching for the iPad more frequently. With more time pairing the iPad with a known reinforcer, you are able to eliminate the use of M&Ms and the iPad has become a powerful reinforcer.

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Premack Principle

The Premack Principle, also known as Grandma’s Rule or first/then, states that high probability (high-P) behaviors can serve as effective reinforcers for low probability (low-P) behaviors when made contingent on the occurrence of that low probability behavior. The Premack Principle suggests that learners are more likely to engage in less preferred behaviors if they know they will have the opportunity to engage in more preferred behaviors afterward.

In preference assessments, the Premack Principle can be applied by systematically observing and measuring a learner’s engagement and preference for various activities. By identifying the highest-preferred activities or behaviors, behavior analysts can then use those preferred activities as reinforcers for engaging in less preferred activities or behaviors.

For example, during a preference assessment, if a learner consistently demonstrates a high preference for playing video games but a low preference for completing academic tasks, the behavior analyst can utilize the Premack Principle by allowing the individual to engage in video game time as a reward for completing academic tasks. By doing so, the less preferred academic tasks become more motivating and reinforcing due to the opportunity to engage in the preferred activity.

Here’s an example:

Your client, Michael, engages in high rates of stereotypic behavior, primarily jumping, that is disruptive in most environments. You have had little success in finding potential reinforcers that are sufficiently motivating to serve as reinforcers. You decide to introduce another sensory activity, slime, to see if you can introduce a new reinforcer for times when a more active reinforcer would be too disruptive.

To get started, you make jumping contingent on just touching the slime with one finger since he is somewhat reluctant to touch it. You gradually build the expectation that he touch it for longer periods (seconds then minutes) while following the activity each time with jumping. Over time, Michael begins to reach for the slime when given a choice between slime and a rice bin.

For more information about the Premack Principle, read our article: Premack Principle: A Guide to Using the First/Then Rule.

While these strategies take time to expand the array of potential reinforcers, they are valuable tools in your ABA toolbox.

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Ethical Considerations When Using Reinforcers, Preference Assessments and Reinforcer Assessments

The use of reinforcers is often seen as something positive, but it’s critical to carefully consider the ethics in using this powerful method of shaping someone else’s behavior. The table below presents some important ethical considerations when using reinforcers, preference assessments and reinforcer assessments. The table includes specific action steps to help you ensure you practice in an ethical way.

ConcernDescriptionAction Steps
Using reinforcers that are not natural Reinforcers that are not natural can have negative consequences for the individual, such as leading to addiction or dependence.Use reinforcers that are natural, such as praise, attention, or access to preferred activities.
Using reinforcers that are too powerful or too intenseReinforcers that are too powerful or too intense can have negative consequences for the individual, such as leading to aggression or self-injury.Use reinforcers that are effective but not too powerful or too intense.
Using reinforcers that are not culturally appropriateReinforcers that are not culturally appropriate may not be effective for the individual, and may even be harmful.Be aware of the learner’s cultural background and preferences when selecting reinforcers.
Using reinforcer assessments that are not valid or reliableReinforcer assessments that are not valid or reliable may not provide accurate information about the learner’s preferences, which can lead to ineffective interventions.Use reinforcer assessments that are valid and reliable.
Not involving the learner in the selection of reinforcersNot involving the learner in the selection of reinforcers can lead to interventions that are not effective or even harmful.Involve the learner in the selection of reinforcers to ensure that they are effective and acceptable.
Not monitoring the learner’s response to reinforcersNot monitoring the learner’s response to reinforcers can lead to interventions that are not effective or even harmful.Monitor the learner’s response to reinforcers to ensure that they are effective.
Using reinforcers to manipulate or control the learnerUsing reinforcers to manipulate or control the learner can be considered a form of coercion, which can have negative consequences for the individual.Use reinforcers to promote positive behavior change, not to manipulate or control the individual.
Not respecting the learner’s right to refuse reinforcersNot respecting the learner’s right to refuse reinforcers can lead to coercion or even abuse.Respect the learner’s right to refuse reinforcers.
Satiation and HabituationPreventing individuals from becoming satiated or habituated to specific reinforcers due to overuse.Monitor individuals’ preferences and periodically rotate or diversify reinforcers to maintain their effectiveness.
Generalization of ReinforcersEnsuring that reinforcers are applicable and effective across various settings and contexts.Promote generalization by systematically introducing and reinforcing targeted behaviors in different environments.
Ethical Use of Tangible and Edible ReinforcersUsing tangible and edible reinforcers in a responsible and safe manner, considering potential health and safety risks.Prioritize the use of non-consumable and non-harmful reinforcers whenever possible. Implement safety protocols as needed.

Research Related to Using Reinforcers, Preference Assessments and Reinforcer Assessments

Below is a table summarizing research articles related to using reinforcers, preference assessments and reinforcer assessments. The table includes important action steps to help you put these ideas into practice.

Article TitleSummaryAction Steps for Applying the Information
The development of interests in children with autism: A method to establish baselines for analyses and evaluation.The article discusses a method to establish baselines for analyzing and evaluating the development of interests in children with autism. It emphasizes the importance of identifying and building on a learner’s interests to promote engagement and motivation in intervention programs.– Conduct a thorough assessment to identify the learner’s interests and preferences.
– Use the identified interests as a foundation for designing individualized intervention programs.
– Continuously evaluate and monitor the learners progress and adjustment to intervention activities.
– Modify and adapt interventions based on the learner’s changing interests and needs.
Comparing multiple stimulus preference assessments without replacement to in-the-moment reinforcer analysis on the rate of responding.The article compares multiple stimulus preference assessments without replacement (MSWO) to in-the-moment reinforcer analysis (IMRA) to determine their effectiveness in identifying preferred stimuli and maintaining high rates of responding. It suggests that MSWO may be a reliable alternative to IMRA.– Implement MSWO preference assessments to identify preferred stimuli and potential reinforcers.
– Use MSWO results to select effective reinforcers that maintain high rates of responding in learners.
– Monitor and reassess preferences periodically to account for changes in preferences over time.
– Consider using MSWO as a time-efficient method for assessing preferences in applied settings.
An evaluation of real-time feedback delivered via telehealth: Training staff to conduct preference assessments.The article evaluates the effectiveness of real-time feedback delivered via telehealth in training staff to conduct preference assessments. It suggests that telehealth-based training can be a viable option for training staff to implement preference assessments accurately.– Explore the use of telehealth to train staff in conducting preference assessments remotely.
– Utilize real-time feedback and guidance during telehealth training sessions to ensure accurate implementation.
– Provide opportunities for staff to practice preference assessment protocols under remote supervision.
– Monitor staff competence and provide ongoing support to address any challenges or questions.
Evaluation of a brief multiple‐stimulus preference assessment in a naturalistic context.The article evaluates the effectiveness of a brief multiple-stimulus preference assessment (BMS) in identifying preferred stimuli in a naturalistic context. It suggests that BMS can reliably identify preferred items and can be a time-efficient assessment method.– Implement a BMS preference assessment to identify preferred items in a naturalistic context.
– Use BMS results to inform programming decisions and enhance reinforcement strategies.
– Consider conducting BMS assessments periodically to track changes in preferences.
– Modify the BMS procedure as needed to accommodate individual needs and preferences.

A comparison of two pairing procedures to establish praise as a reinforcer.
The article compares two pairing procedures to establish praise as a reinforcer. It suggests that using specific pairing procedures, such as response-contingent delivery and non-contingent delivery of praise, can effectively establish praise as a reinforcer.– Implement response-contingent delivery and non-contingent delivery of praise during reinforcement procedures.
– Monitor the learner’s response to praise and adjust the delivery method based on their individual preferences.
– Collect data on the effectiveness of praise as a reinforcer to inform ongoing intervention strategies.
– Consider the learner’s sensory preferences and adjust the characteristics of praise accordingly.
Extending stimulus preference assessment with the operant demand framework.The article discusses extending stimulus preference assessment (SPA) by incorporating the operant demand framework. It suggests that combining SPA with the operant demand framework can provide a comprehensive understanding of the relative value of different stimuli and help guide intervention planning.– Combine stimulus preference assessments with the operant demand framework to assess the relative value of different stimuli.
– Use the results to inform intervention planning and prioritize stimuli with higher demand values.
– Continuously reassess preferences using the combined approach to account for changes in demand values over time.
– Consider individual preferences and reinforcer effectiveness when designing interventions based on demand values.

The effects of establishing operations on preference assessment outcomes.
The article examines the effects of establishing operations (EOs) on preference assessment outcomes. It suggests that manipulating motivational variables through EOs can influence preference outcomes and enhance the effectiveness of preference assessments.– Consider manipulating establishing operations (e.g., hunger, thirst, deprivation) during preference assessments to enhance the accuracy of results.
– Monitor and document changes in preferences due to EOs to inform intervention planning.
– Use the knowledge of EOs to design reinforcement schedules that are contingent on specific motivational variables.
– Continuously evaluate and adjust EOs based on individual preferences and needs.
Evaluating the effects of social interaction on the results of preference assessments for leisure items.The article evaluates the effects of social interaction on the results of preference assessments for leisure items. It suggests that social interaction during preference assessments can influence the identification of preferred leisure items and recommends considering social preferences in intervention planning.– Incorporate social interaction elements into preference assessments for leisure items.
– Use the results to identify preferred leisure items that involve social interactions.
– Design interventions that incorporate preferred leisure items to promote social engagement and interaction.
– Continuously reassess and adjust preferences based on changes in social preferences over time.
Observational effects on the preferences of children with autism.The article explores the effects of observation on the preferences of children with autism. It suggests that observational learning can influence preference outcomes and recommends considering the impact of observation when conducting preference assessments and designing interventions.– Account for the potential influence of observation on preference outcomes during preference assessments.
– Consider the preferences observed through observational learning when designing interventions.
– Implement strategies to promote observational learning and generalize preferences to various contexts.
– Continuously evaluate and adjust preferences based on the influence of observation over time.
Stimulus preference assessment decision-making system (SPADS): A decision-making model for practitioners.The article presents the Stimulus Preference Assessment Decision-Making System (SPADS), a decision-making model for practitioners. SPADS provides a systematic approach to conducting preference assessments and using the results to guide intervention planning.– Familiarize yourself with the SPADS decision-making model for conducting preference assessments.
– Follow the step-by-step process outlined in SPADS to ensure thorough and accurate assessment procedures.
– Use SPADS results to guide intervention planning and prioritize stimuli based on preference outcomes.
– Continuously update and refine your implementation of SPADS based on new research and feedback from experienced practitioners.
A practical strategy for ongoing reinforcer assessment.The article presents a practical strategy for ongoing reinforcer assessment. It emphasizes the importance of continuous assessment and adjustment of reinforcers to maintain their effectiveness and promote behavior change.– Implement an ongoing reinforcer assessment strategy to evaluate and adjust the effectiveness of reinforcers over time.
– Collect data on behavior and reinforcer efficacy to inform ongoing intervention strategies.
– Modify reinforcers based on individual preferences and changing behavioral needs.
– Regularly communicate and collaborate with the learner and their support network to assess and adjust reinforcer effectiveness.
An evaluation of preference stability within MSWO preference assessments for children with autism.The article evaluates the stability of preferences within multiple stimulus without replacement (MSWO) preference assessments for children with autism. It suggests that preferences identified through MSWO assessments exhibit stability over time and recommends considering stability when designing interventions.– Conduct MSWO preference assessments periodically to assess stability of preferences.
– Use stable preferences as a basis for designing interventions that incorporate preferred stimuli.
– Consider the impact of stability on the reinforcement schedule and maintain consistent access to preferred stimuli.
– Continuously monitor preferences and make adjustments as needed based on changes in stability.
A review of methods of assessing preference for social stimuli.The article reviews different methods for assessing preferences for social stimuli. It discusses various approaches, including single-stimulus, paired-stimulus, and multiple-stimulus assessments, and highlights considerations for accurately assessing social preferences.– Familiarize yourself with different methods for assessing preferences for social stimuli.
– Select appropriate assessment methods based on the learner’s needs and characteristics.
– Consider the strengths and limitations of each assessment method when interpreting results.
– Use the information gained from preference assessments for social stimuli to design interventions that incorporate preferred social interactions.
– Continuously reassess social preferences and adjust interventions based on changes in preferences over time.
– Collaborate with the learner and their social network to create opportunities for meaningful social interactions based on identified preferences.
Assessing preference for types of social interactionThis study examined methods for assessing preference for different types of social interaction among learners. The researchers found that a multiple-stimulus without replacement assessment was effective in identifying preferred social interactions. They suggest that practitioners can use this assessment to determine the types of social interactions that can serve as reinforcers for learners during interventions.– Conduct a multiple-stimulus without replacement assessment to identify preferred social interactions.
– Use the results to design interventions that incorporate preferred social interactions as reinforcers.
A comparison of picture and GIF‐based preference assessments for social interactionThis study compared the effectiveness of picture-based and GIF-based preference assessments for determining preferred social interactions. The researchers found that both methods yielded similar results, suggesting that either approach can be used to assess preferences for social interactions. Practitioners can choose the method that is most suitable for the learner’s communication skills and preferences.– Consider using picture-based or GIF-based preference assessments to determine preferred social interactions.
– Select the assessment method based on the learner’s communication skills and preferences.
Evaluation of a brief stimulus preference assessmentThis study examined the effectiveness of a brief stimulus preference assessment, which involved presenting a set of stimuli and measuring the duration of engagement with each stimulus. The researchers found that this brief assessment was sufficient in identifying preferences and could be used to inform treatment planning. Practitioners can use this efficient assessment to quickly identify preferred stimuli for learners.– Utilize the brief stimulus preference assessment by presenting a set of stimuli and measuring engagement duration.
– Use the results to determine preferred stimuli for learners and incorporate them into treatment plans.
Incorporating preference assessment into transition planning for people with autism spectrum disorderThis article emphasizes the importance of incorporating preference assessment into transition planning for autistic learners. By identifying preferred activities and reinforcers, practitioners can develop meaningful and motivating goals for the transition process. They recommend using systematic preference assessments as part of the transition planning process for autistic learners.– Conduct systematic preference assessments as part of transition planning for autistic learners.
– Use the results to inform goal setting and identify motivating activities and reinforcers during the transition process.


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