ABCs of Preference Assessments

A preference assessment is a structured method to identify highly preferred items or actions that can be used as reinforcers to keep motivation levels high when teaching individuals with autism or other special needs.

How do we know what's going to work to reinforce the learner? Remember, an item only serves as a reinforcer if it increases the likelihood that a behavior will occur again in the future.

So how do we figure it out?

We can guess…

Although watching the learner and figuring out what their preferences are is the first step in conducting a preference assessment, guessing isn’t exactly scientific, and therefore, doesn’t qualify as true ABA.

So what do we do?

We can conduct a preference assessment.

There are three types of preference assessments:

1.    Single item presentation: provide items one at a time to the learner, record the learner’s behavioral response and the duration of engagement.

2.    Reinforcer sample: multiple items are provided at once. Data is collected on which items are chosen and for how long.

3.    Forced choice presentation: two items are randomly presented to the student in a systematic order. Data is recorded on the acceptance and engagement with the item.

You can learn more about preference assessment by going here.

 

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