How to Make a Token Economy Work: Goals and Variables of Token Economies with the Institutionalized Mentally Retarded

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Wade, Laura Ann
University of Central Florida
People with mental disabilities; Education; Institutional care
thesis / dissertation description
Token systems of reinforcement are an increasingly popular method of modifying the behavior of the institutionalized mentally retarded. The dramatic success of the token economy has resulted in its programmatic use without full consideration for the relevancy of treatment goals and the numerous variables that may contribute to the successful implementation and maintenance of the token economy. An examination of the treatment goals found in the existing literature reveals that two orientations presently exist: management/control and therapeutic/educative. Furthermore, a review of the literature reveals differing methods or variables may contribute to achieving a successful token economy with the mentally retarded. Several suggestions are advanced as to those goals and specific variables which may be important for successful implementation.