Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pivotal Area: Motivation

Motivation to learn in a typical manner is sometimes not seen in children with autism. Strategies for increasing a child’s motivation for learning include:
  • Allowing the child to make choices. Possible choices include which toys to play with or which materials to use (markers or crayons, blue paper or green paper, etc.).
  • Using natural reinforcers. Using a child’s favorite activities, toys, or interests may make your teaching inherently reinforcing.
  • Task interspersing.  Intersperse easy or mastered skills with skills the child is currently learning. This gives the child a feeling of success and reduces frustration if the only things being taught in a teaching session are new or difficult.
  • Reward attempts. If a child is rewarded or recognized for genuine attempts, engaging in new skills may be more motivating and less frustrating. For example, a child learning to verbally request items may initially be provided a cracker when he or she says, “cra.” Over time, a closer approximation of the word can be required before the child is given a cracker.

For more information, please consult:
Pivotal Response Treatment for Autism: Communication, Social, & Academic Development recomends...
Incentives for Change: Motivating People with Autism Spectrum Disorders to Learn and Gain Independence

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