Behavior Contracts for Aspergers Children

A behavior contract is an agreement between the child and parent. It is a written agreement about how the child will behave and will indicate the appropriate consequence should the child neglect to behave according to the contract. It also states the reinforcer to be used for successful compliance. The behavior contract provides the Aspergers (high functioning autistic) child with structure and self-management.

Developing the Contract—

The contract should be written with the child and parent (i.e., collaboration). Here are some points to consider:
  • Consequences and reinforcers need to be thought out clearly.
  • Contracts should name specific behaviors to be changed.
  • Define who and how the behavior will be monitored (e.g., parent’s initials, stickers, check mark system, etc.).
  • Focus only on 1 or 2 behaviors at a time.
  • How will the child receive a reward? (e.g., receive an extra hour of computer-time).
  • What is the consequence should the child not adhere to the behavior described in the contract?
  • Involve the child in the writing of the contract; ask him to make suggestions for reinforcement and consequence for failure to comply.
  • Sate the goal (e.g., will not speak out rudely, will keep hands to him/herself, will remain on task, etc.).
  • Set a date for reviewing the contract.
  • Time should be clearly stated in the contract; choose a half day, a full day, a week, etc.
  • You can include tangible reinforcers, social or activity-based reinforcers, curtailment of an activity, tokens that can be cashed in for a specific activity, etc.

Some Successful Reinforcers/Rewards—

o 5-10 Minute Free Choice Activity
o Free Computer Time
o Helping Mother with Cooking
o Invite Friend Over
o Listen to Favorite Music
o Watching Favorite Movie

A little patience goes a long way. It is critical for the child to know that you like him and that you're only disappointed in his behavior. Be sure to let him know that you share this goals, you both want what's best for him.

Praise goes a long way. I have been working with special education (behavioral) children for a long time, and these strategies have never failed me yet!

A minor problem with behavior contracts is that the focus is on controlling a child's behavior rather than helping him to make wise choices. Keep this in mind when developing behavior contracts.

Behavior contracts don't often work immediately. Be patient and consistent and you WILL see results. Know when it's time to review and revise. When the contract is not working well, be sure to include the child when making revisions.

Here is a sample behavior contract for Aspergers children:




Members Present:

Describe Inappropriate Behaviors Observed (Physical, Verbal, Other)




Describe What precedes the Inappropriate Behaviors:





Target 1 or 2 Behaviors to be Modified


Describe Unsuccessful Intervention Approaches:


Brainstorm a List of Potential Successful Approaches:


Describe the New Behavior Goals Include consequences and reinforcers



Date For Review:


Matthew said...

This is an amazing idea having Aspergers myself means that i can effectifely comment and this sounds like an amazing idea!:D

Anonymous said...


Thank you for the note!

I was delighted to find your link on the web! So many parents are looking for better ways to approach matters that seemingly cause friction in the household. I myself find that when I bring humor into situations I know are about to get out of control, it stops everyone in their tracks and they put on a smile! It relieves the tension and gets everyones attention. :)

Thank you for dedicating your time and effort in this field of study! Parents are looking for answers on how best to handle situations that typically result in conflict. As a Mom my goal is to see my child lead a happy, healthy life, that enables him to make a contribution in this world. However big or small that may be, based on his God given talents.

Thank you again!

With respect,


Anonymous said...

My 6th grader has been on a behavior contract at school since he was in Kinder. It's been a TREMENDOUS help. While he still has melt downs, after the fact he understands what happened and why he didn't earn the mark for that box during that class period.

Also, we can now head off meltdowns by noticing when he starts to spiral and then refer to the contract and how he won't earn his mark. He often can now redirect himself. YEAH!

Anonymous said...

RE: How is a behaviour 'contract' meant to help a child going into meltdown? ...RESPONSE: It's not going to help after the meltdown already starts -- neither does anything else at that point. The idea behind a contract is to get some things in place to PREVENT a meltdown from happening in the first place.

Anonymous said...

My son doesn't have a contract but we use a magnet chart..when he doesn't earn his magnet he throws a tantrum! He doesn't seem to understand what the magnets are for (nor did he when we used stickers). Any advice!

Anonymous said...

My son is 8 was recently diagnosed with Aspergers we have been doing the chart system and it seems to be working fine with the stickers for teeth brushing and chores. The school here where I live isnt much help especially when he has a bad day. I wish that children with Aspergers are more protected.

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