Reinforcer preference assessment a useful tool for the school psychologist
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Reinforcer Preference Assessment: A useful tool for the School Psychologist. Samuel Thompson, M.Ed., LSSP Texas Tech University School Psychology Specialization SELCO SSA Brook Roberts, M.A., LSSP SELCO SSA. INTRODUCTION.

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Reinforcer Preference Assessment: A useful tool for the School Psychologist

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Reinforcer preference assessment a useful tool for the school psychologist

Reinforcer Preference Assessment:A useful tool for the School Psychologist

Samuel Thompson, M.Ed., LSSP

Texas Tech University School Psychology Specialization

SELCO SSA

Brook Roberts, M.A., LSSP

SELCO SSA


Introduction

INTRODUCTION

  • Reinforcer: Any stimuli that, when presented, increases the future frequency of the behavior that immediately precedes it.

  • In schools, positive reinforcement is considered the cornerstone of effective behavior change and management.

  • Positive reinforcement is impossible if the stimulus selected to serve as a reinforcer is not actually reinforcing to the student.


Introduction1

INTRODUCTION

  • School Psychologists are frequent behavioral consultants

    • Last line of defense

  • When bringing in outside consultants, time is money

  • Special Education directors will be happy with any steps the School Psychologist can take in order to save time with the consultant

    • The first step is typically a reinforcer preference assessment


Introduction2

INTRODUCTION

  • What students are we talking about?

    • Those requiring substantial behavioral support

    • Any student exhibiting aggression or property destruction

    • Students with frequent BIP modifications or related manifestation determination reviews

    • Students who seem to demonstrate no clear preference


Introduction3

INTRODUCTION

  • Verbal Nomination

    • RAISD

    • “I know he likes this…”

  • Free Operant Preference Assessment

    • Tangibles and activities

  • Multiple Stimulus without Replacement

    • Edibles and (maybe) tangibles


Verbal nomination

VERBAL NOMINATION

  • History

    • One of the earliest forms of preference assessment was to simply ask the student

  • Application

    • Can be used with caregivers, teachers, or child

    • When time is limited

    • To have a starting point and to also begin to eliminate items which may not be reinforcing


Verbal nomination1

VERBAL NOMINATION

  • Strengths/Weaknesses

    • Self-report may not accurately identify reinforcers in some cases when directly observed

      • (Northup et al., 1996)

    • Caregiver report is frequently ineffective at reliably identifying reinforcers

      • (Windsor , Piche, & Locke, 1994)

    • Teacher and caregiver report, when incorporated with other direct assessment procedures, may more effectively identify reinforcers than either of the two in isolation

      • (Cote et al., 2007)


Verbal nomination2

VERBAL NOMINATION

  • Strengths and Weaknesses (cont)

    • A reinforcer chosen by the individual receiving it rather than by someone else may be more effective

      • (Fisher et al.,1996; Lerman et al., 1997; Thompson, Fisher, & Contrucci, 1998)

    • Self-nomination of preference may not match observed preferences

    • Self-nomination is limited to individuals who possess sufficient expressive and receptive language skills

    • Considerations

      Students’ level of functioning

      Verbal abilities

      Cognitive abilities

      Use pictures when needed


Verbal nomination3

VERBAL NOMINATION

  • Reinforcer Assessment for Individuals with Severe Disabilities

  • - (RAISD; Fisher et al., 1996)

    • Generates a list of potential reinforcers from the visual, audible, olfactory, edible, social, and tactile domains

    • Rank orders the stimuli from most to least preferred based on predictions of child preference

    • When information yielded from these methods does not appear to change behavior, other methods of reinforcer assessment may be required.


Verbal nomination4

VERBAL NOMINATION

  • Other Verbal Nomination Instruments

    • School Reinforcement Survey Schedule

      • (Holmes, Cautela, Simpson, Motes, & Gold, 1998)

    • Forced Choice Reinforcement Survey

      • (Cartwright & Cartwright, 1970)

      • Presentation of limited choices will prevent unrealistic selections (such as iPhones and trips to Cancun)


Raisd forced choice reinforcement survey

RAISD/Forced Choice Reinforcement Survey


Free operant preference assessment

FREE OPERANT PREFERENCE ASSESSMENT

  • History

    • Developed a procedure in which participants had continuous access to an array of stimuli for 5 minutes.

      • (Roane et al.,1998)

    • Participants were free to interact with the stimulus(i) of their choosing at any time throughout the assessment, and no stimuli were withdrawn from the participants


Free operant preference assessment1

FREE OPERANT PREFERENCE ASSESSMENT

  • Application

    • Provide non-contingent access to an array of stimuli that may or may not function as reinforcers

    • Operationally define “interaction”

    • Record total duration of interaction with each object or percentage of intervals child interacted with object

    • Method to assess tangible and activity reinforcers

    • “Today, you get to play with these toys. When I say “go”, play with the toys you would like to play with.”


Free operant preference assessment2

FREE OPERANT PREFERENCE ASSESSMENT

  • Strengths/Weaknesses

    • Length of assessment is shorter than other methods

    • Displayed fewer problem behaviors during assessment

    • May not get a hierarchy/ranking of preferred items

  • Data Collection: % of intervals


Free operant preference assessment3

FREE OPERANT PREFERENCE ASSESSMENT


Free operant assessment data sheet

Free Operant Assessment Data Sheet

Results from journal article by Sautter, LeBlanc, & Gillett, 2008:


Reinforcer preference assessment a useful tool for the school psychologist

MSWO

  • Multiple Stimulus Without Replacement

  • -(DeLeon & Iwata,1996)

  • Typically referred to as an MSWO

  • Uses verbal nomination results

  • Developed in contrast to a forced choice preference assessment or a multiple stimulus with replacement

    -Creates a hierarchy, discrete rankings

  • Hierarchy useful for more complicated interventions that utilize delayed reinforcement schedules


Reinforcer preference assessment a useful tool for the school psychologist

MSWO

  • Application

    • Student seemingly “bounces around” from one reinforcer to another

    • Unpredictable preference

    • Any time edibles are approved for programming

    • 3-5 trials are needed


Reinforcer preference assessment a useful tool for the school psychologist

MSWO

  • Steps in application:

  • 1. Obtain reinforcers

  • 2. Create standardized quantities

  • 3. Randomize data sheet

  • 4. Allow for tact/exposure

  • 5. “Okay, pick one…”


Reinforcer preference assessment a useful tool for the school psychologist

MSWO

  • Data sheet procedures:

    • Randomize each stimuli

    • One presenter/administrator, one data collector

  • Pitfalls:

    • Student grabs for more than one – Block and reset the trial

    • Saving the best for last


Conclusion

CONCLUSION

  • General recommendations:

    • Ensure standardization

    • Be prepared for problem behavior

  • Threats to validity

    • Mixing Edibles and Tangibles/Activities

      • (DeLeon et al., 1997)

  • Data collection/presentation

    • Visually inspect your data

    • Stop when data is stable


References

REFERENCES

  • Cartwright, C. A., & Cartwright, G. P. (1970). Determining the motivational systems of individual children. Teaching Exceptional Children, 2(3), 143-149.

  • Cautela, J., Cautela, J., & Esonis, S. (1983). Forms for behavior analysis with children. Champaign, IL: Research Press.

  • Cote, C.A., Thompson, R.H., Hanley, G.P., & McKerchar, P.M. (2007). Teacher report and direct assessment of preferences for identifying reinforcers for young children. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 40, 157-166.

  • DeLeon, I.G., & Iwata, B.A. (1996). Evaluation of a multiple-stimulus presentation format for assessing reinforcer preferences. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 29, 519-532.

  • DeLeon, I.G., Iwata, B.A., Goh, H.L., & Worsdell, A.S. (1997). Emergence of reinforcer preference as a function of schedule requirements and stimulus similarity. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 30, 439-449

  • Fisher, W.W., Piazza, C.C., Bowman, L.G., & Amari, A. (1996). Integrating caregiver report with a systematic choice assessment. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 101, 15-25.

  • Fisher, W., Thompson, R., Piazza, C., Crosland, K., & Gotjen, D. (1997). On the relative reinforcing effects of choice and differential consequences. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 30, 423-438.

  • Lerman, D., Iwata, B., Rainville, B., Adelinis, J., Crosland, K., & Kogan, J. (1997). Effects of reinforcement choice on task responding in individuals with developmental disabilities. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 30, 411-422.

  • Northup, J., George, T., Jones, K., Broussard, C., & Vollmer, T.R. (1996). A comparison of reinforcer assessment methods: The utility of verbal and pictorial choice procedures. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 29, 201-212.

  • Roane, H.S., Vollmer, T.R., Ringdahl, J.E., & Marcus, B.A. (1998). Evaluation of a brief stimulus preference assessment. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 31, 605-620.

  • Sautter, R. A., LeBlanc, L. A., & Gillett, J. N. (2008). Using free operant preference assessments to select toys for free play between children with autism and siblings. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2(1), 17-27.

  • Thompson, R., Fisher, W., & Contrucci, S. (1998). Evaluating the reinforcing effects of choice in comparison to reinforcement rate. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 19, 181-187.

  • Windsor, J., Piche, L.M., & Locke, P.A. (1994). Preference testing: A comparison of two presentation methods. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 15, 439-455.


Reinforcer preference assessment a useful tool for the school psychologist

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