Step 2.6 Immediately reinforce the toddler's attempts

a) Reinforce the toddler's attempts at responding that are clear, unambiguous, and goal-directed.

Reinforcement of response attempts is a consequence PRT component brecause it happens after the toddler provides a response. Reinforce the toddler's attempts that are purposeful approximations of the targeted response. By reinforcing attempts, in addition to correct responses, you increase the likelihood that children will engage in future attempts as they experience more success and positive reinforcement for appropriate trying. Learning to talk, play, and socialize can be hard work, and reinforcing attempts may keep toddlers willing to engage in the “hard work.”


A nonverbal 18-month old who is starting to make erbal communicative intent, reaches for a book and says, “Ooo!”

Although this is not the targeted response, such as, “book”, the parent immediately reinforces the attempt by saying “book!” while handing the book to the toddler.

Doing so naturally reinforces the attempted vocalization and re-models (recasts) the target response.


b) Provide direct reinforcement immediately after a goal-directed attempt

Provide direct reinforcement immediately after and contingent on a goal-directed attempt. Pay careful attention to providing reinforcement only after a correct response or attempt by the toddler.


A practitioner immediately continues tickles (the natural reinforcement) for an infant who attempts social engagement by giving brief eye contact and socially smiling.