Token economy system w/ real images Picture card for children w/ Aspergers, autism, Apraxia
Matson and Boisjoli (2009, p. 240)
Token economy bundle comes with :
- 1 Blue half sheet card-stock paper.
- 5 Superman Tokens
- 25 Real images reinforcer Pecs
5. ice cream
11. take a walk 12. playground
13. fish crackers
15. gummy bears
19. free play time
21. listen to music
22. board game
23. ride a bike
24. read a book 25. Go to toy store
What is a Token Economy?
Within an educational setting, a token economy is a system for providing positive reinforcement to a child or children by giving them tokens for completing tasks or behaving in desired ways.
Token economies are used as a method of strengthening a behavior, or increasing its frequency, because the tokens are a way of “paying” children for completing tasks and the children can then use these tokens to buy desired activities or items (Miltenberger, 2008).
How does a Token Economy work?
The basic principle is that a child earns a certain number of tokens by engaging in desired behaviors (called “target behaviors”) and can then exchange these tokens – effectively using them as payment – to gain access to backup reinforcers.
The target behaviors could be anything. For example, completing academic tasks like getting a certain amount of spellings correct, or it could be saying hello to their teacher in the morning, or playing nicely with their peers.
What a target behavior will be depends on each individual child. Some token economies could be used to increase a child’s desire to complete academic tasks while another token economy could be used to decrease the amount of aggression a child engages in by giving tokens for not engaging in aggressive behaviors.
Money is a type of Token
The world economy where people go to work, do their job to earn money and then spend this money for things they want or need is pretty much identical to a classroom token economy. The money you earn from employment itself isn’t really what you want – it is a means to an end. What you really want is what you buy with your money because getting money means you get desired items and activities (e.g. car, house, jewelry, food).
For a classroom token economy, a child will go to school, complete academic tasks to earn tokens and then spend these tokens for back-up reinforcers. Again, the tokens aren’t really what the child wants. Just like our money, the tokens are a means to an end – getting tokens means getting things the child wants (e.g. 5 minutes playing a computer game, a break from work, chocolate, sweets).
Positive reinforcement, via the tokens, can be provided immediately after the target behavior occurs.
A token economy is structured therefore there will be consistency with how positive reinforcement is delivered for target behaviors.
A child’s future planning skills can be developed because different amounts of tokens need to be earned for different types of backup reinforcers and the tokens must be kept until enough has been earned.
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