Reinforcers are items that reinforce and increase good behavior. Like bubbles, cucumber, ice-cream, apple etc. Things that the child likes.


Pairing refers to using things your child likes (including bubbles, snacks, attention, etc.) and delivering these items without any demands. Pairing is not a one-time thing, though, so if your child resists any task like putting on his shoes, you’ll need to focus on pairing or re-pairing the activity to make it easier.

In addition to delivering reinforcing items, you also want to pair all external reinforcement with praise using simple gestures such as smiling and giving a thumbs-up and words or phrases like “That’s great!” You can also clap and simply say “Yay!” when your child is successful. In the beginning, you may need to deliver reinforcement every time there is the slightest success.


Using a single word upto three times in a row before delivering reinforcement. 

If the child echoes you after the first or second time you say the word, deliver the reinforcer immediately. 

If your child loves bananas, cut the fruit into several pieces. Say “banana, banana, banana” up to three times as you deliver each piece. If he says “banana” or “nana,” deliver the piece as quickly as you can. Then when you hold up the next piece a minute or two later, you might wait a few seconds before saying it and delivering it to see if your child will mand for it more spontaneously. Finally, if your child is having problem behaviors or you’re losing his interest when you say words three times in a row, you may need to quicken your pace and vary the number of times you repeat the words.

Avoid talking in complete sentences, and use words with few syllables. 

If your child wants to be picked up, for example, avoid saying, “Okay, I’ll pick you up, Susie,” which may sound like garbled nonsense if she has little language comprehension. Instead, say, “up, up, up” right before you lift her. When you open a door, say, “open, open, open!” As you help your child out of his booster seat, say, “down, down, down.