I am working for…

This is one of my favorite visuals. I feel like I already said that about a different visual – but I’m one of those ‘you can have more than one best friend people.’ So this is one of my favs.

Students with autism (and many general education students really!) are not motivated by such typical reinforcers such as teacher praise, grades, or work completion. Sometimes they need something more tangible to work for. It drives me NUTS when people insinuate that this is bribery/should not be used. My quick sassy comeback – would you go to work if you didn’t get paid? Didn’t think so lady. (feel free to use that as needed!)

For my students who have lower receptive language, they may not be able to understand when you verbally tell them “you can have computer time after you finish your work.” They may need a visual cue to understand this. I use a mini token economy system for students like this. Students can pick what they want to work for from a visual choice board.

The teacher will deliver stars based on good behavior, correct response, or task completion. Once they get all of the stars – they earn the reinforcer. This has helped me get some of my most difficult and challenging students working and behaving well!

Here is a video tutorial:

and a product preview of this resource on TpT!



  1. I LOVE this idea! I teach in a structured teaching classroom in central Illinois. I work very hard to make sure my students have visuals but had never thought of this. Thank you some much for the great idea!!!! I cannot wait to explore your site more.

  2. It’s a lifesaver I promise! We use it daily! Thanks for reading 🙂

  3. I use these with most of the kids in my functional sped classroom. We have put them in DVD cases. The choices for reinforcers are inside. Great idea!

  4. Love that idea! Thanks for sharing!

  5. What are your thoughts on using this for an entire Kindergarten class? I’m thinking start Monday morning by choosing your “working for” and then work throughout the week to earn the stars. I’m looking for some different behavior/discipline ideas. Thanks!

  6. Great visuals! I use these daily with many of my students as well, I have a K-2 autism classroom but I find it challenging to manage the delivery of the reinforcers as well getting them back to work. Any suggestions on management when you have multiple students earning reinforcers at the same time?

  7. Embedding “reinforcer time’ into your schedule can be helpful. Maybe centers run for 15 minutes and then there’s a 5 minute break for reinforcers before rotating to the next center. Using timers to get back to work can be helpful as well. Hope this helps!


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