Enhancing the Teaching Environment

by Jean Dwyer, B.A., CBIS

Modeling behavior or demonstrating behavior is a very commonly used approach, particularly in teaching social skills. Modeling has been particularly helpful in teaching people with TBI. Often times, language processing can be impaired in people with TBI, making verbal cues ineffective. Therefore, several advantages of modeling in TBI rehabilitation include visual and physical cues, so a person can play to their strengths. The probability of success with this method can be further enhanced by careful preparation. Removing as many distractions from the environment, such as noise, clutter and interruptions, can aid the person who has concentration difficulties. Considering the possibility of language deficits requires we keep verbal cues clear, brief, and concrete. Brief is important also to aid in cue fading as a client learns. Repetition is often helpful when done in a well thought out fashion, being mindful of consistency.

By modeling a behavior, we offer a person with TBI a calm, organized and productive way in which to function, thus reducing the possibility of frustration from failure and the opportunity to act out. The teacher is present to redirect any inappropriate behavior when it happens. Most importantly, the teacher is there to catch someone doing the task correctly and reinforcing the appropriate behavior.

Increasing the opportunity for successful completion of a task and without overwhelming a person or letting them get distracted by frustration is the formula for a good day in rehab.

Revised: Thursday, June 06, 2002