Reinforcing Desired Behavior: Reinforcement Menus (page 2)
Reinforcement interviews, surveys, observations, and reinforcement journals can help create individualized reinforcement menus that give students variety and help the intended reinforcers maintain their effectiveness. Teachers have a tendency to choose one or two reinforcers and have the students work for them every time. The problem with this is that students tend to start to satiate on reinforcers if they experience them too often, making them less effective. If they get the same thing all the time, they will tire of it.
Reinforcement menus are effective tools for many reasons. Through their use, students have some ownership of the reinforcers. Through surveys or interviews, you have already given them some voice about what items will be on the menu. By allowing them to choose an item from the menu when they earn the reinforcer, you have added another aspect of choice (which we discussed as a preventative strategy in Chapter Eight), and the student can choose what is reinforcing to him or her at a particular moment.
Another reason menus are powerful is that they teach students the self-management skill of self-reinforcement. If we can teach students to self-reinforce effectively, no longer will delivery of reinforcement rely on an outside party because students will have the tools they need to motivate themselves. Our goal is to make them independent.
Reinforcement menus can be individually designed according to the strengths and interests as well as academic and social needs of each particular student.
A list of some of our favorite individual, group, and home reinforcers and some suggestions for simple tracking systems are provided in Table 9.2.
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