Definition of token economy

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Definition of token economy

A token economy is a system with behavior modification. It could be translated as like a sticker chart. The parent will formulate a goal for the child, there's a behavior they want to eradicate. They have a timeline that they would like to see the child reach, whether minimizing this behavior. So they create a systematic approach that has to be motivating to the child. So the reward has to be motivating to the child. And then they do, if the child does not do so many things this many times, they get a reward. And you can build upon it. You want them to be able to succeed so the goals might be… you might want them to eliminate it half the time and then you can tighten it up later. And then you can build on those rewards. So if you did this four times this week you get the sticker, and for four stickers or four weeks, there's a grand prize, etc. So you want it to be motivating for the child and make sure you know what motivates them and what would work, so they work towards the goal.

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Lisa Gonsalves, MA

Behavior Therapist

In her career in youth development, Lisa Gonsalves, MA, has served youth populations across the globe over the past 25 years. Her professional experience includes creating, developing, and administering a variety of programs, development systems, and methods for young people as coordinator, counselor, and instructor for ages four through 24.  The various youth populations she has served include school age children with behavioral or mental heath diagnoses, urban and rural at-risk adolescents, foreign students, gay youth, socio-economically underprivileged, and middle class youth. She has a master’s degree in Social Policy for Youth Services.

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