Episode 20: How to Use a Reinforcer Hierarchy

Check out the full podcast to learn everything you need to know about how to use a reinforcer hierarchy.

Episode Summary:

Understanding Reinforcer Hierarchies:

  • After conducting a preference assessment to identify student reinforcers, the next step is ranking these reinforcers to create a hierarchy.
  • This hierarchy provides a quick reference to understand which reinforcers students prefer and to what extent.

Importance of Reinforcer Hierarchies:

  • Different reinforcers are suitable for various times of the day or activities.
  • For challenging tasks or skills that students are less inclined to perform, using highly preferred reinforcers can increase motivation.
  • Easier or maintenance tasks can be paired with low to mid-range reinforcers.

Flexibility and Adaptation:

  • Students should ideally choose their reinforcers, but the frequency and timing of reinforcement can be adjusted based on the task difficulty.
  • Reinforcers may not always be available; limiting access to highly preferred reinforcers can prevent satiation.

Data-Driven Decision Making:

  • Reviewing data from preference assessments is crucial for creating a reinforcer hierarchy.
  • Data on which items students interact with and for how long can reveal preferences and trends.

Creating the Reinforcer Hierarchy:

  • Use preference data to categorize reinforcers into low, mid, and high levels.
  • Aim for 3-5 reinforcers at each level and share this information with staff for consistent implementation.

Maintaining the Hierarchy:

  • The hierarchy is a dynamic document that should be reviewed and updated 3-4 times a year.
  • Changes in student preferences should be reflected to ensure the hierarchy remains effective.

By following these guidelines, teachers can effectively use reinforcer hierarchies to enhance student engagement and success in the classroom.

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