Reinforcement Fact Sheet
Reinforcement (R+) is used to teach new skills and to increase behavior. Reinforcement estab- lishes the relationship between the learner’s behavior/use of skill and the consequence of that behavior/skill. This relationship is only reinforcing if the consequence increases the likelihood that the learner performs that behavior/skill. Reinforcement can be positive or negative. Positive reinforcement is the delivery of a reinforcer (i.e., something that the learner desires which may be tangible, edible, activity-based, interest-based, and so on) after the learner does the target skill or behavior. Positive reinforcement can also be implemented in the format of a token economy program. Token economy programs systematically give learners access to tokens when targeted behaviors/skills are used. These tokens are exchanged for desired objects or activities that rein- force the learners’ use of that behavior/skill. Negative reinforcement is the removal of an object or activity that the learner does not want (e.g., taking a break after finishing a set of math problems) when the learner does the identified behavior or skill. Reinforcement is a foundational evidence- based practice in that it is almost always used in conjunction with other evidence-based practices (e.g., prompting, pivotal response training, discrete trial teaching, functional communication training).
R+ meets evidence-based criteria with 43 single case design studies.
According to the evidence-based studies, this intervention has been effective for toddlers (0-2 years) to young adults (19-22 years) with ASD.
R+ can be used effectively to address social, communication, behavior, joint attention, play, cognitive, school-readiness, academic, motor, adaptive, and vocational skills.
Kucharczyk, S. (2013). Reinforcement (R+) fact sheet. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Neitzel, J. (2009). Overview of reinforcement. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Kyle Bringhurst, MSW
Address: 3048 East Baseline Road Suite 107
Mesa, AZ 85204