Unplanned Modeling

    - By Betsy Kane

Modeling can be an effective tool when working with TBI individuals. One of the most important aspect of modeling in direct care is the ability to use this tool in a natural environment. Modeling falls into two categories, planned and unplanned. Planned modeling could be job coaching at a workplace, teaching ADL skills in the home, or instruction of proper behavior in a family setting. Planned modeling usually takes place in a controlled environment, is planned systematically and the model is a prearranged prompt to help a person know exactly what he or she is to say or do. Unplanned models are ongoing behaviors in the person’s environment that an individual learns by observing. With a TBI individual, repetition and consistency of the observed behavior is key for unplanned modeling to be effective. Modeling some behaviors may be universal, such as manners (please, thank you) or greetings (Hello, my name is...).

Most unplanned modeling takes place in community situations. Some examples where unplanned modeling are used could be are:

1. phone skills

    (proper etiquette and message taking) "Hello, XXX speaking"

2. relationships with known waitstaff/salespersons at a frequented shop

    (using same or like greetings, following required steps to order a purchase)

3. in church

    (standing/sitting when called for, remaining quiet or praying when appropriate)

4. giving the client consistent words/behaviors to problem solve a reoccurring event

    (such as have a child of TBi individual complete his homework upon arriving home from school.)

Using the phrase repeatedly " After you change your school clothes, sit at the table and do your


These will be many other examples of unplanned modeling in the direct care environment. These are but a few examples of how unplanned modeling can be helpful to a TBI individual when performed in a consistent manner.

Moreover, the person who performs the modeling also has a responsibility. This includes the person’s actions, verbiage and attitude toward the client, client’s family and members of the community. The role model should examine their own conduct. Provide a positive example. Promote tolerance and anti-bias. Avoid stereotyping and prejudice. Be respectful. Develop an attitude that fosters the potential of a happier more independent lifestyle and healthier life for you and your client.

Revised: Thursday, June 06, 2002