All-In-One Token Reinforcement Boards

We firmly believe in shaping behaviors with positive reinforcement. While we are cautious to include visual prompts in our therapy when they are not needed, we do realize that for some kiddos, visual prompts ARE needed to sustain joint attention, build a positive work ethic and increase work productivity.

Effective reinforcement strategies are critical for some of our kiddos to achieve success. We can shape desired behaviors by reinforcing desirable actions/responses and withhold reinforcement for actions that are undesirable or not small improvements toward shaping our goals or objectives.

Token systems are based on the principals of operant conditioning. The tokens themselves are considered learned reinforcers or secondary reinforcers. Once earned, they can be exchanged for a child-selected (or learner-selected) tangible or social reinforcer.

In our therapy room and school, we use all-in-one token boards. Every board contains 10 token reinforcement ‘doors’.

For initial token training or short work tasks, 1 token ’door’ is open indicating that 1 token is required for the child to earn their desired reinforcer. Once the token is earned, the child closes the door. As the child becomes successful over time and the work requirements increase, the quantity of tokens is adjusted. Separate token cards are no longer needed to adjust the token ratio. We simply open and close the token ’doors’ to customize the ratio for our learners.

Some of our students require a visual reminder of the preferred item for which they are working. We also made boards with an “I am working for…” feature that allows for our child’s own communication system icon or any small photo/text icon to be added.

 We like to switch up our token boards based on the child’s interests as well as for seasonal themes.

We have created every day token board bundles as well as seasonal token bundles.

 Simply print double sided, laminate, assemble and use!

   You can grab them here:

Everyday All in One Token Boards: Everyday All in One Token Boards
Seasonal All in One Token Boards:  Seasonal All in One Token Boards

Why Didn’t We Think Of This Sooner?

Vocabulary Postings

We came up with a fun idea around this time of year a few years back. We wanted our little ones to have a lot of repetition learning vocabulary for our upcoming Thanksgiving Feast. We decided to post our Thanksgiving vocabulary where it would be seen over and over.

We pulled up our tape line by the door and replaced it with a vocabulary line!

Posting our vocabulary like this allowed for visual exposure to vocabulary multiple times during the day. The kids walked over it every time they came in and exited the room. They followed directions “Stand on the______” when they were lining up to leave the room before transitions. We even asked the kids “What would you like to stand on?” which allowed the kids to express vocabulary. We asked questions that included features/function/class to our kiddos that could already express the vocabulary.  What we didn’t expect, was the spontaneous labeling that began as the kids stepped on the vocabulary over and over each day. Even our little ones that were still learning functional communication began to echo vocabulary and tact vocabulary as they lined up. BINGO! By the time the feast rolled around, our data showed mastery for both receptive and expressive feast vocabulary with the majority of our kiddos. 
Besides the classroom, we also posted in the hallway where the kiddos sit and wait before and after the bathroom transition. 

 Just a tip, cover it with packaging tape 🙂 It lasts longer and prevents little fingers from picking at it. 

 These are posted just a few feet above the floor.

 After Thanksgiving, we decided to post our common object and/or thematic vocabulary this way for each unit.  WHY DIDN’T WE THINK OF THIS BEFORE???? 

Glowing Ideas for Therapy

We all know you can never go wrong with play dough. We kicked our fun up a notch this week by making glow in the dark play dough and used it with our smash mats! Add a black light and glow in the dark fingers from the dollar store and the level motivation was through the roof! The kiddos had a ball following directions, working on vocabulary, practicing speech words, grammar and even problem solving.

You can find the recipe and activity here:
Halloween Smash Mats and Play Doh Recipe

Happy Halloween!!!


5 Ways to Make Your Apple Unit Fun!

We just love this time of year! Apples, leaves, pumpkins, scarecrows, Halloween and Thanksgiving give us TONS of vocabulary. Here are 5 ideas to make learning apple vocabulary interactive and fun:

1. Presentation 
It’s amazing how excited the kids can be to learn just by creatively arranging materials.  When little ones came in and saw this basket filled with apple books, play doh, baking props, cookie cutters and apples, they were engaged to follow directions and participate right from the get go. When we push in classrooms, we just picked up the basket and bring it with us!

2. Make Photo Vocabulary 
We are firm believers in embedding thematic and curricular vocabulary in our therapy. While we love cute clip art, we also enjoy bringing actual photos in to our sessions.  Cell phones with cameras make it easy to snap some pictures of vocabulary targets! We either send them to print at the local photo shop or just print them on card stock on a color printer. We try to laminate as well so they last longer. While out at the orchard with my family, I just snapped individual pictures of apple vocabulary! I included things like bushel basket, orchard, tree, branch, stem, hayride, crates, farmer, cider, pie etc.  It helps to make the vocabulary a little more meaningful especially for the kiddos that have never been to an orchard.

3. Use Object Specific Reinforcers 
Since the theme is apples, we have a lot of real and pretend apples to use in therapy.  The goal for the child in the picture above was to label common objects and state the function of the item. The child was able to cover the object with an apple each time he completed a task. It made the task even more fun when the apples were attached to a tree with velcro and they got to ‘pick’ the apple before competing the task. If you are using a token system, consider using apples as the tokens. These pretend apples are really Christmas ornaments with the strings cut off 🙂

4. Make it Multi-Sensory 
One of our favorite things to add to our thematic units is homemade scented play doh.  For the apple unit, we make Apple Pie play doh that smells just like apple pie! Scented play doh and props engages sight, smell and touch. It allows you to more naturally work on skills like vocabulary, actions, auditory directions, sequencing, problem solving and so much more!

5.  Pretend! 
Make your lessons come to life with props!! We cut up pretend apple slices out of brown and white foam and added them with baking supplies and apple pie play doh. Pretend to make the dough, mix the apples and add spices. Use the play doh to roll out and make a crust. Scoop in the pretend pie filling in a large pie pan or individual pie pans then cover with the play doh crust. We even pretend to bake it in a play kitchen but when the kitchen set isn’t out we use a box!

Pronouns and BINGO!

Sometimes the most successful ideas pop up when you least expect them! That happened this week while we were playing Apple BINGO! The plan was to work on pronouns HE and SHE while we played the game. Instead of using pictures to elicit the trials we grabbed the Grandma and Dad dolls out of our apple orchard sensory bin! They perfectly held the calling cards from BINGO and the child got to decide where to place the card. As he placed them in their lap, he practiced “She has the apple pie” or “He has the apple juice”. So simple!!! It was engaging and natural. The vocabulary was also rich in sibilants so we were able to target articulation within the game as well.  It’s a good day when your simple game allows you to easily address syntax, articulation and vocabulary!! 
Looking for an apple BINGO? you can find one here 🙂