A token of my affection

We tried this once before, but it didn’t go so well. I decided to revive the old token economy after reevaluating what went wrong last time. It’s not going as well as it could, but it’s going much better than last time (which was before we had even a suggestion of Autism, and were operating under the diagnosis of ADHD) . I am optimistic that in a few weeks, he should have the hang of it, and it could be a really useful tool for us. I thought he might have some trouble accepting a new rule requiring him to “pay” for privileges he previously got for free, but so far that doesn’t seem to be his problem. His problem lies in the concept of delayed gratification. As soon as I give him a marble for something, he is anxious to cash it in for something. I keep trying to explain that he should hang on to at least a few of them to save up for the bigger privileges, like trips to the park, and ice cream. But he seems frantic to turn it back into something immediate.

Anybody else tried this system? Any tips? Success stories?



  1. MOM-NOS said,

    July 16, 2006 at 10:55 am

    Steph, have you tried using a visual? It might be easier for him to understand if he can see the progress he’s making towards the desired thing. We’ve used sticker charts with Bud in the past and he’s had no problem at all with dealing with delayed gratification in the “payoff.” Our system was a different, though, because I used stickers to focus on a specific behavior (so, for example, every time he went to sleep in his own bed by himself he got a sticker, and once he earned x number of stickers he got the identified prize.) So there weren’t choices that he needed to make in terms of how to use his “earnings.”

  2. Steph said,

    July 16, 2006 at 5:57 pm

    Reed, unfortunately, has a tendency to decide halfway through that “This is taking too long, and I didn’t really want that thing anyway”. I am using a slightly more adaptable system to try to keep his interest. We made a chart of the possible rewards and what they “cost” on the chalkboard wall in his room, so he can see what’s available. I also spelled out desirable and undesirable behaviors whereby he may earn his marbles. He did better today, and even has 2 marbles left as of this writing to be cashed in at bedtime for a few Hot Wheels to drive in bed.

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