Here’s What You Should Know About Acknowledgments/Reinforcement:
In West Virginia, we try to refer to “Reinforcement” as “Acknowledgments.” This simple change in semantics seems to help many understand the concept of rewarding children for doing what they are supposed to do.
It is important from the beginning to explain that Acknowledgements are the least important part of the philosophical package of PBIS. We expect our stakeholders to define expectations first, then continue collecting and analyzing data to make sound decisions.
Becoming well-versed in the principle of positive reinforcement can be beneficial when entering environments with individuals who may not understand or accept the concept of reinforcement.
When battling the extrinsic and intrinsic motivation argument, making researched and/or true-life comparisons can help convey your message.
If possible, have Acknowledgement inventories ready while encouraging the use of no-cost reinforcers.
It is important to stress the concept of developing an environment where everything is earned, even if it’s not mandatory.
Consider the limitations of what is allowed or possible in the facility.
Work with the team to develop an economy that is fair and equitable, which includes opportunities for residents to earn at the minimal level.
When figuring out what will serve as currency, one must consider counterfeiting, ease of distribution and the facility limitations. It can be done, but it will take outside-of-the-box thinking.
Do not fret if you do not get it right the first time.
Do not forget how to give Acknowledgments must be taught. If the resident does not know what they received, the Acknowledgment is useless.
Do not forget ways to Acknowledge staff. It is a great way to improve buy-in. Remember, if we want a behavior to continue, we must reinforce it.