What is it?
Providing students with a schedule that alternates between disliked and liked activities can increase a student’s willingness to complete non-preferred tasks. The aim of this strategy is to use a schedule to reinforce students for disliked task completion with a preferred activity. This strategy can be used for short periods e.g. ‘first-then’. The student completes the disliked activity first followed by the liked activity. This strategy can also inform planning for the day (see the Visual schedule factsheet).
How do I use it?
- Identify the activities the student likes and dislikes. One method is to get the student to rate the class activities on a scale ranging from ‘Like doing’ to ‘Don’t like doing’.
- From the ‘Don’t like doing’ list, target the sessions where behaviours of concern most frequently occur.
- Look at the daily plan and identify activities from the ‘Like doing’ list that can follow the ‘Don’t like activity’ e.g. if the student doesn’t like maths but likes going outside then you could schedule maths before outside time.
- Create the schedule using words/symbols/pictures (see the Visual schedule factsheet).
- Introduce the schedule to the student. ‘First we do maths (point to the maths symbol), then we go outside (point to the outside symbol).’
- Student starts on the first activity. Reinforce ‘You are doing your maths first.’
- When the student completes the first activity point to the schedule ‘You have completed maths, now you go outside.’
- The duration of the liked activity does not need to be the same length as the disliked activity. Embedding a short liked activity e.g. one minute break, can be sufficient to increase student engagement.
- Students can find it difficult moving from ‘most liked’ e.g. outside to a ‘not liked’ (group) activity. In these situations inserting a ‘liked’ activity e.g. quiet reading can ease this transition.
All ages with appropriate adjustments for age and ability.
Where can I learn more?