A COMPREHENSIVE EVALUATION OF REINFORCER IDENTIFICATION PROCESSES FOR PERSONS WITH PROFOUND MULTIPLE HANDICAPS

Authors


Western Carolina Center, Morganton, North Carolina 28655.

Abstract

We evaluated comprehensively a preference assessment for identifying reinforcers for persons with profound multiple handicaps. Four experiments were conducted involving 18 individuals. Results of Experiment 1 replicated previous findings in that the assessment identified student preferences for respective stimuli, and caregiver opinion of preferences did not coincide with the systematic assessment. Results of Experiment 2 indicated highly preferred stimuli were likely to function as reinforcers in training programs, whereas stimuli not highly preferred did not function as reinforcers. Results of Experiment 3 suggested the 12 stimuli used in the assessment represented a comprehensive stimulus set for identifying preferences, although the utility of the set sometimes could be enhanced by caregiver opinion. Results of Experiment 4 indicated the assessment identified preferences likely to be maintained over time. Overall, results are discussed in terms of identifying limits and alternatives to a behavioral teaching technology when applied to persons with profound multiple handicaps.

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