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Reinforcement inventories

The reinforcement inventory is a simple checklist that outlines the likes, dislikes and interests of a child with autism. This gives caregivers a better idea of what can be used to motivate and reward certain behaviour and what triggers might cause the child to respond inappropriately. The inventory records what the child likes, tolerates or dislikes when it comes to:

  • interacting with others
  • activities and interests
  • food and drinks
  • sensory input from their environment

Used alongside the planning matrix, it quickly and easily conveys to families, teachers, healthcare providers and other caregivers the best approaches to take with that child.

By identifying their favourite activities or interests, these can be used as rewards or “reinforcers”. This can be very helpful when trying to encourage them to try something new, or adapt their behaviour in some way.

The checklist can also be used to identify the things the child dislikes. Where possible, other strategies can put into place to help them deal with dislikes that can’t be avoided altogether.

The reinforcement inventory should be regularly reviewed and updated as the child grows and develops new skills and coping mechanisms. This is something parents, teachers and other caregivers can discuss and contribute to.

It’s easy to create your own autism reinforcement inventory and preferences checklist with our free downloadable forms. This inventory can be shared with other people who support the child.