NYEP, with help from Dr. Bob Quilitch, has worked diligently for the last fours years to create a motivational Token System that is specific to independent living skills, our home and this community. Both NYEP and Dr. Quilitch are the copyright holders for NYEP’s Community Living Program Token Economy System, also known as the CLP Token System. Token systems have been around for a long time, are effective but remain underutilized.
Remember when making your bed and washing the dishes contributed towards your weekly allowance? All families do it differently, but some sort of work economy like this is a common way to teach young people new skills, help motivate them to accomplish tasks assigned to them and create a cooperative family feeling where everyone works together to serve tasty meals, get the dishes washed and keep the home clean.
Some chores are for everyone, such as taking turns vacuuming, while others are tailored just for one individual, such as volunteering at the SPCA to wash dogs or helping a Head Start teacher manage a room full of active children. Completed chores and tasks are assigned point values which are awarded weekly. Special privileges and treats, such as coming home from a concert an hour late or being taken on a special shopping trip to buy a luxury item are purchased with points. It is pretty much the same as working adults earn and spend money, but in our case we use points and not dollars. We take care to set “prices” in consultation with our clients so that the entire motivational system seems fair and equitable to everyone. Residents mostly enjoy it, telling us that having specific weekly assignments keeps them well-focused and avoids feeling overwhelmed with too many tasks to keep track of.
The token system motivates residents to practice concrete skills and knowledge, as well as the emotional management necessary to establish and maintain self sufficient lives within the community. The CLP formal curriculum is used by staff to teach, track, and report daily, weekly and monthly skills training and progress for each youth resident.