Supporting comprehension vs supporting ability to act

Level of details about an issue that is challenging need to be presented in an individualised way. Basic details can be presented through regular educational materials such as books however the details are not accurate or specific enough to that individual and the environments that they engage in and to the people that they interact with. Detailed assessments are necessary to support comprehension, specifically those of the tasks being completed. The goals of the tasks or interactions and whether those goals are shared by the individual or whether those goals are being directed by others for different or opposing reasons need to be integrated into the information. Leading an individual into a complex task requires an understanding of trauma and previous exposure to challenging tasks and how that individual has responded. In what way does their skill level change, does their interaction style change and what impact does the environment and more importantly what changes to the environment can be made to make the entrance into those activities easier?

Supporting comprehension is not just about providing an instruction or background information. There are tasks to be interacted with, people to be engaged with and environments to be managed and coped with. Decisions around what an individual can be ‘talked through’ versus what they need to be protected from are extremely important. Others in the environment play a significant role in elaborating on details about how to use objects and the timing of specific interactions e.g. when to jump on a trampoline together in a way that supports the balance of both versus one bouncing whilst the other finds it hard to get up or is knocked over.

Providing the ability to ‘read’ the structure of a task or the structure of an environment requires consistency. However, real life is not about consistency. The ability to interact with multiple variables at once and work out which is the most important to jump between is highly important as a skill to reduce dependency on others.

Most options for taking kids or families out in public involve complex arrangements, yet why is that not the same as running the household routine. Identifying who is involved in the care of each individual is important, as it is to also identify every task and the person responsible for making those decisions. Or whether those decisions are made by those elsewhere but it has an impact in the family’s home. e.g. environmental.