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A child’s environment is vital to his/her future health and success. For the parents of children with a cognitive disability, the task of creating an appropriate environment can be daunting. Children with this diagnosis require an environment that is calm, predictable, and supportive. Children with cognitive disabilities require simple, concrete behavioral expectations in their environment. In addition, they must experience immediate, consistent, non-shaming consequences (that are appropriate for their individual level of functioning) for not meeting those expectations. Short-term behavior goals matched with equally short-term consequences may be the most effective method for children with cognitive disability. The important aspect to remember is to ensure that it is a realistic goal for the individual child. Incorporating all of the above aspects is no small feat.
These children often require intense supervision and structure in the environment. They often do best in their environment when they came to understand the schedule and routine of the day. Parents with children who function at an intellectually disabled level often find their child will require multiple parenting and teaching strategies for him/her to be more successful.