Preference Profiles


What is it?

A preference profile (also called reinforcer profile) is chart that is used to record the likes and dislikes of a student. The purpose of the profile is to know what works as reinforcements (or rewards) for a student and what doesn’t. Often the things people commonly assume to be reinforcements, such as stickers or points, may not be motivating to a specific student with ASD. The student’s individualized list may include food/drinks, activities, locations, people, words of praise, and more. The profile can be brief or long and should be referred to by all staff working with the student.

When is it used?

It is important that a preference profile is developed for every student with ASD, regardless of age or ability. Gathering the information for the list depends on the student’s age and profile, and can involve direct observation of the student, as well as interview with family members, other service providers, and the student themselves. Reinforcements on the list should be referred to and used frequently, especially when teaching new skills and behaviours. Importantly, student preferences change, so it is crucial to keep the preference profile updated by adding new preferences/dislikes and removing others as they change. It may also be advisable to update a preference profile if a student is displaying new, challenging behaviour.