Serving Autism On and Off The Tennis Court

Patrick Pierre Jr, M.S., M.Ed, BCBA

Positive Reinforcement is something that can be quite useful when it comes to keeping kids physically active. When we say positive reinforcement, we are talking about giving praise or a preferred item as a reward to increase the frequency or magnitude of a behavior.

When your child does a desired behavior (ie. taking out the trash, listening to directions, washing hands before a meal, etc) we can reward them by providing a preferred treat, positive attention or access to a preferred activity for engaging in those behaviors.

Take the opportunity to offer specific praise or acknowledgement of your child’s desired behavior by rewarding them for it. The more you reward them, the more likely they are to continue to engage in those behaviors.

This same concept applies to sports, excercise, and physical recreation. Physical activity is important to children’s health and to be healthy adults. When your child is engaged in physical activity make it a habit to reward them. This reward can come in the form of words ( ie. Good job!, Nice Work!) or in the form of a preferred treat after the activity is done (ie. Movie on the couch, small frozen yogurt, smoothie etc.). We set up our children for greater success when we praise them for having healthy values. We encourage healthy values by rewarding healthy behavior.

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