Background to my interest in teaching children with autism

Teaching Children with Autism, continued

You need to be aware that the reinforcement value of any particular consequence will change from time to time. For example, a drink of pop is more likely to be reinforcing when a child is thirsty than after he/she has just had a big drink; access to a favourite videotape is likely to be more reinforcing if the child hasn’t already watched it earlier in the day.

Events (including those things you do) that alter the reinforcement value of a consequence are called Establishing Operations or, more frequently lately, Motivating Operations (EO’s or MO’s). The use of EO’s can often most productively be taught (i.e., to instructors) within the context of teaching the child to make requests, because teaching your child to use language to ask for the things that he/she wants will provide lots of opportunities to think about how you can motivate him/her to ask for those things (as opposed to just wanting them).

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