Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


46th Annual Convention; Online; 2020

Event Details

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Paper Session #97
Overcoming Barriers and Making Modifications Resulting in a More Legacy Elementary School Token Economy
Saturday, May 23, 2020
3:30 PM–3:50 PM
Area: EDC
Chair: Emily Cook (Londonderry School; Ruth Pauline Cook Foundation)
Overcoming Barriers and Making Modifications Resulting in a More Legacy Elementary School Token Economy
Domain: Service Delivery
Richard T Cook (Applied Behavioral Medicine Associates of Hershey, PA), EMILY COOK (Londonderry School; Ruth Pauline Cook Foundation)
Abstract: Following on research done to address the question "What's a Teacher to Do When the Tokens and Backup Reinforcers Are Not Motivating the Targeted Elementary School Students?" information obtained was used to make changes in many aspects of the token economy, including the accommodation of differing views of the purpose or benefit by different teachers, as well as the mechanics of the administration of the token economy and tokens and back up reinforcers, and even to the philosophies, incorporating unexpected student enthusiasm that led some students to find their primary reinforcement in just the tokens and the processes of the mechanisms of the token economy, apart from the back up reinforcers; Participation in the token economy itself became reinforcing for emitting desired behavior When a token economy is not appearing to create the desired degree of motivation and reinforcement of desired behaviors for its targeted elementary school students, the 'automatic' response of "Just go get better backup reinforcers!" is often not an option, and arguably, shouldn't be. Other aspects, including individual components, and the strengths of associations between behavior, token, and backup should be assessed systematically. Similarly, the extra effort of assessing for, in a systematic fashion, alternate (especially non-material, no cost) backup reinforcers can identify intangible social and attention based reinforcers that middle school kids might actually really want far more than yet another plastic spider ring or cartoon character pencil sharpener. This presentation highlghts a framework for systematically evaluating the salience of tokens and back up reinforcers currently in use in an elementary school token economy, prompting teacher ideas for additional tokens and reinforcers to add, and improving the impact of both the new and currently used ones. Noteworthy aspects of THIS proposed framework include integration of systematic guidelines for such evaluation, including those in Foxx's fundamental "Increasing Behaviors.." text, the "Components, Connections, Consequences, and Context" model, as well as the fundamental "Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence" 3 part contingency, Donabedian's "Structure-Process-Outcome" model, and behavioral analysis modifications of Haddon's Injury Control Strategies and Matrix. Additionally, and very importantly, this rubric is powered by its grounding in and development by the perspectives of the middle school student first author.



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