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Reinforcement describes a relationship between learner behavior and a consequence that follows the behavior. This relationship is only considered reinforcement if the consequence increases the probability that a given behavior will occur in the future. In this module, reinforcement procedures will be discussed including positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. Steps for implementing each of these evidence-based procedures is provided as well as information on how reinforcement can be used with individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Estimated Time to Complete: 2 hours

  • What's Included
  • 47 pages
  • Pre/post-assessments
  • Optional $20 certficate
  1. Identify the reinforcement procedures that can be used with learners with ASD
  2. Describe the steps for implementing reinforcement programs
  3. Describe how to fade the use of reinforcement programs while still helping learners generalize and maintain the use of newly acquired skills
  4. Identify the challenges associated with implementing reinforcement programs with learners with ASD

Module Authors

Bobby Huffman, M.A.-ABA

Bobby Huffman is an intervention and behavioral specialist for Jones Middle School in the Upper Arlington school district. Throughout his teaching career, Bobby has worked with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) ages 18 months to 16 years old in both the school and home settings using special interests to increase learning opportunities. Bobby received his master's degree in applied behavior analysis at The Ohio State University where he published research on using special interests in classroom settings. In addition, Bobby is a part-time research assistant for the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI).

Laura Maddox, Ph.D.

Laura Maddox, PhD, BCBA, COBA is the program director for the Center for the Young Child at OCALI. She has directed federal and state grants related to children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) and in foster care. She was assistant director of the Boys Town Institute for Child Health Improvement, co-director of the Barkley Autism Research Project at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and state coordinator of the Nebraska ASD Network. She is a past recipient of the Alice B. Hayden Emerging Leader Award from TASH and the Ruth J. Eichman Early Childhood Educator Award from the Lincoln Public School Foundation.

Jennifer Neitzel, Ph.D.

Jen Neitzel, Ph.D. is founder and Executive Director of the Educational Equity Institute. Dr. Neitzel was a Research Scientist at FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina. She worked on various projects including the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders (NPDC). As a Content Specialist at NPDC, she developed online modules focused on evidence-based practices (EBP) to implement with children and youth with ASD. Dr. Neitzel presents at state and national conferences and is published in peer-reviewed journals. She is the author of the upcoming book, Achieving Equity and Justice in Education through the Work of Systems Change.

Modules on this site are always free. If you would like proof of completion, you can purchase a certificate when you have successfully completed this module. The certificate will provide contact hours for this module.

Graduate credit for courses is available through OCALI's partnership with Ashland University. Access information about course options and semester dates in the Search.

Continuing education credit from providers such as ASHA and NASW is in progress. For questions contact

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