Token Economy and Group Contingencies.docx - Actually for Intro to ABA II: Techniques & Applications. This course has just not been added yet.

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Seneca College
Social Service Worker
Social Service Worker SWL206

Token Economy & Group Contingencies TOKEN ECONOMY  Definition  A behavior change system with three major components  Specified list of behaviors to reinforce  Tokens or points for emitting those behaviors  A menu of back-up reinforcers for which the learner can exchange tokens/points (Effectiveness of tokens as reinforcers depends upon the power of the back-up reinforcers) Advantages of Tokens  Can be given immediately  Paired with many different backup reinforcers  Can be administered to large diverse groups Setting Up a Token Economy  Decide on target behavior  Define behaviors so that all involved can identify instances of appropriate and inappropriate behavior  Target Behaviors and Rules  Select measurable/observable behaviors  Specify criteria for task completion  Start with a small number of behaviors  Ensure learners possess prerequisite skills  It is okay to individualize…rules don’t have to be the same for everybody  Select the type of tokens to use  Can take many forms, but should be:  Durable  Easy to handle  Difficult to steal  Difficult to counterfeit  Can give graded value for tokens  Can associate different types of tokens with different behaviors Token Economy  Select a Menu of Back-up Reinforcers  Use naturally-occurring activities when possible  Privileges  Tangibles and edibles can be used as well  Follow ethical and legal rules Specific Implementation Procedures (continued)  Managing the backup reinforcers  How frequently will backup reinforcers be made available?  Frequency high in the beginning  How much will each reinforcer cost?  Should be related to monetary cost  High demand items should cost more  Low cost for backup reinforcers that have therapeutic value Possible punishment contingencies  Can use tokens to administer punishment through fines  May need to teach clients how to accept fines in a nonaggressive, relatively nonemotional way Setting Up a Token Economy  Identify available help  Depending on the situation, different people may need to help  EX: Teachers, volunteers, behaviorally advanced peers, etc.  Choose the locations  Some locations are better than others, but often do not have a choice of location  Managing consequences  Ensure backup reinforcers are on hand  Clearly describe criteria for earning and exchanging tokens  Award tokens as immediately as possible  Use reinforcers such as praise with tokens  Keep accurate records  Provide bonuses for high-level performance  Train those administering tokens Token Economy  Establish a Ratio of Exchange  Initial ratio should be small  After that, adjust ratio for maintenance  Procedure for Dispensation  May need storage containers  Procedure for Exchange  Usually a “store” of some sort  Initially, have store open frequently  Over time, this can be more intermittent  Must decide on procedures for:  Keeping data  What kinds of sheets?  Who will record the data?  When will recording take place?  The reinforcing agent  Who will administer the reinforcement and for what behaviors?  Number or frequency of tokens to pay  More tokens to start  Gradually decrease number of tokens  Less pleasant activities might earn more  Implementation  Initial training  Describe the procedure to learners  Model the procedure for token delivery  Model the procedure for token exchange  Ongoing training  Booster sessions may be needed occasionally  Management issues  Teach students how/where to store tokens (secure location)  Discourage hoarding and encourage savings in some students  Chronic rule breakers deserve special consideration  Tips  Avoiding “Battles”  Be matter of fact when learners don’t earn tokens; don’t nag  Stay neutral; avoid confrontation about tokens  Response cost included?  Most do include response cost  Learners need to be aware of behaviors resulting in response cost/procedures  Make the cost fit the severity of behavior  Avoid having learners go “in the hole”  Implementation  Withdrawing the token economy  Plan for maintenance and generalization  Pair tokens with social approval  Gradually increase number of responses required to earn tokens  Gradually decrease length of time it is in place  Gradually increase number of “natural” reinforcers and fade out use of contrived reinforcers  Systematically increase price of more desirable items  Fade physical evidence of token over time  Considerations  Can be intrusive and difficult to implement  Can be cumbersome  Can be so rewarding to interventionist that he/she doesn’t want to remove it  Ensure it doesn’t run counter to Federal mandates Response Cost  Response Cost is the term used for removing reinforcement for an undesirable or disruptive behavior.  it is a form of negative punishment.  By removing something (a preferred item, access to reinforcement) you decrease the likelihood that the target behavior will appear again.  It is often used with a token economy, and is best used when a student understands the implications. Pro's of Response cost  Pro's of a Response Cost Program  When you have real clarity about the behaviors for which a student can lose points, tokens or access to reinforc
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