10 Engaging Reinforcement Strategies for Children with Autism: The Power of Fun and Motivation

Reinforcement strategies play a pivotal role in shaping behaviors and fostering positive interactions for children with autism. Creating a fun and engaging environment is crucial to ensure that reinforcement techniques effectively motivate and empower children. In this article, we’ll explore 10 examples of reinforcement strategies tailored to children with autism, emphasizing the importance of keeping them enjoyable and exciting.

The Importance of Fun in Reinforcement

For children with autism, the world can often feel overwhelming due to sensory sensitivities and communication challenges. Incorporating fun into reinforcement strategies not only captures their attention but also establishes a positive connection between desired behaviors and enjoyable experiences. When activities are engaging and tailored to their interests, children are more likely to stay focused, motivated, and receptive to learning.

  1. Visual Schedules and Rewards: Utilize visual schedules to outline tasks and activities, and pair them with visual representations of rewards. Your little ones can see their progress and anticipate the ice cream cone, or whatever fun reward awaiting them.
  2. Sensory Play: Incorporate sensory activities like textured playdough, sensory bins, or sensory rooms. These activities can be both rewarding and calming, making them an excellent reinforcement tool.
  3. Interactive Technology: Many children with autism are drawn to technology. Utilize educational apps or games that align with their interests, providing an enjoyable way to reinforce learning. So next time your child asks for time on the iPad, you can turn it into a learning opportunity.
  4. Special Interests: Tap into their special interests when designing reinforcement activities. If your child loves trains, offer them train-related rewards or incorporate train-themed tasks.
  5. Movement Breaks: Integrate movement breaks into tasks. After completing a task, allow them a short burst of physical activity, like jumping on the trampoline or doing a dance to their favorite song.
  6. Social Rewards: For some children with autism, social interaction is highly motivating. Use social rewards like high-fives, hugs, or spending time with their favorite person.
  7. Choice-making: Empower children by giving them choices. Offer a selection of rewards or tasks and let them choose, promoting a sense of control and motivation.
  8. Pictorial Reinforcements: Create a reinforcement “menu” with pictures of rewards. Children can choose their desired reward and see the progress they’re making. This can help children visually see the progress they are making.
  9. Storytelling and Imaginative Play: Engage their imagination with storytelling or role-playing activities related to tasks. This turns everyday activities into exciting adventures. For example, making cleaning their room into a heroic quest to vanquish messy creatures and restore order to a magical kingdom, encouraging engagement and imaginative thinking. All while cleaning their room!
  10. Multi-sensory Rewards: Consider rewards that engage multiple senses. A reward might involve a favorite snack, playdough, or their favorite stuffed animal.

Reinforcement strategies are powerful tools for children with autism, aiding in skill development, behavior shaping, and positive interactions. However, the key to their effectiveness lies in making them enjoyable and engaging. By bringing fun into reinforcement techniques, caregivers and educators can create a nurturing environment where learning becomes a fun journey rather than a daunting task.

Each child is unique, so experimentation and flexibility are essential when implementing these strategies. By observing their reactions, understanding their preferences, and adjusting the reinforcement approach accordingly, caregivers can ensure that children with autism experience the joy of achievement and the thrill of progress. Ultimately, when fun becomes an integral part of reinforcement, children with autism are more likely to thrive, learn, and embrace the world around them.





Ashvina attended University of Bombay and graduated with a Bachelors of Commerce. She got her Montessori Diploma in 1985 and taught ever since. Ashvina came to TBE in January of 2016 as Admin Assistant. During the years she got the opportunity to learn and work in different departments such as HR, Finance, Office Manager and Executive Assistant. Last summer TBE bought billing in house and her current focus area is Revenue Cycle Management. She is detail oriented and enjoys working with people. Ashvina volunteers to deliver meals to seniors and local shelters on the weekend. She loves to spend time with her family and grandkids. Ashvina loves her job because she enjoys hearing different points of view, and she feels her contributions help fuel the direction of our company.

Working with children comes naturally to Angela. Her mom was a special education teacher for 30 years and often had Angela join her for Take Your Child to Work Day. And in high school, Angela spent every summer as the nanny for a little boy with an autism spectrum disorder. It was this experience where her passion for working with children with autism started to blossom.

From there, she went on to graduate from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Sciences. She learned about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in a non-normative development class and from that moment knew that ABA would be her life’s work.

Angela moved to the DFW area shortly after and began working at The Behavior Exchange as a therapist. She worked on her Master’s in Behavior Analysis at the same time. A year after graduating, she earned certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Now, as a Clinical Director at The Behavior Exchange, she brings a life-long passion to her work, holding a special place in her heart for children with limited language skills and working closely with families to develop healthy sleep habits.

Danielle’s passion for working with families is deeply personal and from the heart. Her younger brother has an autism spectrum disorder, and through their journey as a family, she found her purpose in life as an advocate for individuals with special needs.

After graduating from the University of North Texas with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies, Danielle began volunteering at The Behavior Exchange. She saw passionate therapists, meaningful change for clients, and families with hope for the future. After a summer of volunteering, she officially joined the team as Director of Admissions and found her home with The Behavior Exchange family.

With her extensive experience working as a client advocate with insurance providers, Danielle perseveres to help individuals of all ages and abilities receive the services they need to reach their full potential. She feels truly honored by each and every family who entrusts The Behavior Exchange to be part of their journey and is committed to the organization’s core values, mission, and goal of being a beacon of hope for the community.

Adam has always had a passion for helping individuals of all ages thrive and reach their full potential. He’s also an enthusiastic musician, songwriter, leader, and devoted family man, who has been helping children and team members grow with The Behavior Exchange since 2010.

Prior to joining the team at The Behavior Exchange, Adam was a mortgage loan consultant and grad student, pursuing his master’s degree in Education at the University of North Texas. He graduated in 2013 and also earned a graduate academic certificate in Autism Intervention. The following year, after years as a Behavior Therapist and seeing first-hand the power of ABA and the meaningful impact it can have on children and their families, Adam became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. He then commenced from the Stagen Leadership Academy after completing the Integral Leadership Program (ILP), a 52-week practice-based program designed to develop executives serious about transforming themselves, their teams, and their organizations.

Adam is truly grateful to be a part of a dynamic, inspiring and compassionate team, and he’s dedicated to bettering the lives of all children and their families through the delivery of the highest quality of ABA services, while supporting the amazing team at The Behavior Exchange.

Soraya is from South Africa and moved to Texas in 1996. She graduated from The University of Texas and pursued a career, at that time, in Education. Soraya taught at a Montessori school for a few years and then took on a leadership role.

During her time in the education system, Soraya realized her passion was to assist children with special needs. So she joined The Behavior Exchange as a therapist, transitioned into a supervisory role in 2017, and a year and a half later, was promoted to Clinical Operations Manager.

She quickly learned the ins and outs of ABA operations and scheduling and successfully collaborates across departments to ensure The Behavior Exchange continues to provide quality services to clients and their families. She’s thankful to be part of such an amazing organization and excited to see what the future holds.

You could say Walter’s career started when he spent hours as a young child drawing superheroes and coloring maps. This passion, along with extraordinary swimming skills, landed him a full swimming scholarship at Texas Christian University, where he graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Graphics.

During the next 13 years, his design and art direction skills, conceptual-thinking abilities, and marketing-savvy know-how were honed at a few prestigious advertising and marketing agencies around the Dallas area. In the mid 2000s, he helped his wife Tammy Cline-Soza (founder and CEO of The Behavior Exchange) create a unique and concise brand for her new business. From logos and websites to uniforms, brand voice and visuals, Walter has been the main creative force for all things The Behavior Exchange.

Aside from giving birth to The Behavior Exchange brand, Walter is helping Tammy raise two amazing, beautiful children, River and Sierra. In his spare time (the two minutes he’s got per week), you can find Walter illustrating iconic landmarks of Dallas and Texas or looking around for this next open-water swim. Once he gets back in shape.

After 20 years of building The Behavior Exchange, literally from the ground up,
Tammy couldn’t be more proud of the team, culture, and organization that it has become.

As a family helping families, The Behavior Exchanges looks for opportunities that will make the biggest impact and produce life-changing outcomes – for clients, families, and even for team members. Tammy believes that if a team, a family, a community takes care of each other, the possibilities are endless and the relationships built along the way can make life more enriching and challenges easier to navigate. You could say her goal has been to build a kind of utopia full of support, love, and expertise that brings the best services possible to the community and ensures more families have access to those services.

Tammy and her family have dedicated their lives to the mission of The Behavior Exchange and continue to grow, learn, cultivate, challenge, support, and create better models for success. To that end, she is committed to her own leadership development and actively participates in advanced training, mentoring, and deep self-exploration on how to live out her purpose to love and support her family and help others reach their full potential. She takes her position very seriously and tries to serve as a channel for what the universe wants to come to fruition.

She also loves travel, gardening, being creative, MUSIC!, tennis, yoga, meditation, journaling, reading, being in nature, adventures, and more than anything, spending time with her husband Walter and their two beautiful children, River and Sierra.