How to Make and Use a Visual Reward Board

reward board 3
Written By:  Elizabeth McMahon, MA, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist

Visual boards are a great way to help children learn and complete targeted activities.  Sometimes, children may need to have a visual board as a reward system.  For example, in the picture above, the child has to earn 3 stars in order to play bubbles.  The way they earn the stars can vary and is up to the adult.  It could be completing specific activities, following directions, etc.   Here are some easy ways to make and use a visual reward board.

  1. Laminate a piece of construction paper or cardstock.  I like to use cardstock because it’s a little sturdier and doesn’t bend as easily.   You can find a basic laminator at any craft store.  I found one at Costco and it works really well.
  2. Place a line of Velcro on the laminated cardstock.   This is your visual board.
  3. Find pictures to use as the reinforcing object.  This is something that your child will work for.  What do they like?  What’s their favorite toy, food or activity?  You can find pictures online or take a picture of the object with your camera.  If your child is working with a speech pathologist, they may have the computer program called Boardmaker and can print some pictures for you.
  4. Laminate the pictures and add Velcro to the back.
  5. Introduce the visual reward board to your child.
    • Provide your child a few objects and find out which one is motivating to them.  Then, place that picture at the end of the board (e.g. bubbles).
    • Tell your child they have to earn 3 stars to get that object.
    • Tell your child how they can earn the stars (e.g.  “write your name on your paper, follow directions, put the puzzle piece on the puzzle, etc”).
    • After they complete the task, give them a star picture and have them place it on the visual board.  You may need to do hand-over-hand assistance the first few times to show your child where to place the star picture.
    • After your child adds the 3 stars, immediately give them the desired object and let them play with it for a few minutes.

The visual reward board can be used throughout the day at home, during therapy sessions and in the classroom.  You will need to change the desired object in order to have something motivating for your child.

Now It’s Your Turn:  Have you used a visual reward board with your child?  How did it go?

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