Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Facilitating Generalization: #3 Using Positive Reinforcement!

One aspect of a speech language pathologist's job that is imperative to successful communication is facilitating generalization as many of our students/clients struggle with showing their classroom teachers or parents all the skills they have mastered for us in the therapy room.  This series of posts will focus on tips, that have worked for me, which can help you facilitate generalization of learned skills to new environments.

Step #3:  Use Positive Reinforcement: 

You know the saying "You catch more flies with honey".  So be sure to distribute your honey!

Once staff members were aware of their student's goals and progress, I would enlist them to help me out in providing some positive reinforcement.  Have you seen those "caught being good" tickets or other positive reinforcement measures?  The reason I like something external, such as this, is because it provides something concrete for the student to receive, see, feel, and have.  Also they can then share this with their parents, teachers, and friends their accomplishment and for some younger elementary students this is sometimes a reinforcement of it's own.

A word of caution:  Some students must first be motivated by positive reinforcement before you ever see change as they tend to doubt their own abilities to improve.  So be sure to give ALL of your students positive reinforcement (not at the same time) at various times regardless of their sole improvement on a specific speech or language goal or skill.  There are a number of things everyday each of our students do to make us proud, smile or laugh.  Be sure to capitalize on those moments, especially for the emotionally damaged child!  Children who know they are valued, will be more confident and will work harder.

So don't underestimate the power of positive reinforcement!

If you missed Step #1 or Step #2 click on these links.  Stay tuned for Step #4 next week.

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