What is the purpose of a reward program?
Using a reward program for your autistic child at home is a way of giving your child extra support which is targeted on specific behaviors. This will encourage him to try again if he did not meet his target.
Giving praises or positive reinforcements towards a good behavior will also encourage your child with autism to concentrate and follow every instruction you will give him towards a particular task.
Having a system that works for you and your child will help your child to concentrate and follow consistently the task at hand.
Rewards program not only helps achieve this but it is also good in modifying the behavior of your child with autism.
This has helped my son, John in performing a specific task at home and also has helped him think about his behavior.
How to use a reward program at home
- Choose a particular behavior you would like your child to change. You need to talk about this with your child to make sure that it is clear to him what target behavior that he needs to change. For example, I told my son that I don’t like him always screaming when he is asking for something or does not like something. I use a visual aid to add support on what I am asking him to do. I showed him a picture of a child screaming and put my thumbs down as a gesture of saying “no”. I even showed him a picture of an X mark as a symbol of “no”.
- Try to make sure that it is a target that your child will likely to succeed at. Success will give your child a reason to carry on behaving well, but failure can just be a reason to give up trying. Change targets once your child has achieved the first one or if you find that it’s too difficult to achieve. I make sure that the target behavior that I set for John is achievable so that he may not get upset and give up easily.
- Before you begin, take some time to discuss with your child what rewards he would like to earn. Agree a few smaller rewards and one special one. I utilized John’s toys e.g. Lego, puzzles, play dough, small cars as a prize for behaving well. I will let him choose which toy he wanted to play as a prize. I told him that if he will continue to behave well, he would get a special prize. This special prize may be a trip to the park or a cinema.
- Using a reward chart as a record for every good behavior may be helpful but this needs consistency in order to be successful. Every good behavior accomplished could be marked in a sticker chart. The more sticker your child sees, the more he will be encouraged to continue doing an activity that you will ask him to do. If you want to avail a free printable sticker chart, please click this.
In summary, reward programs are a good way to help your child concentrate and maintain a good behavior in doing a specific task at home. These should be reinforced by constant praising for good behavior. For example, if John wants something, he won’t scream in order to catch my attention instead he will point to me or say the word for the thing that he wants me to get. I will acknowledge his good behavior by saying to him, “Well done for not screaming”.
By doing this, you are giving your child the greatest reward that he should receive which is your constant love and support for him.
Positive reinforcement by acknowledging good behaviors is a good way of helping your child to maintain positive behaviors thereby allowing him to concentrate on every task that you ask him to do.
On my next post, I will be writing about the ways you could help your child improve his fine motor skills.
If you have any comments, suggestions or clarifications on how to use a reward program at home, please feel free to leave your comments below and I will try to answer back as soon as I can.