Examples of Skill-Building in Positive Supports

Skill-Building Activity: Creating a Supportive Environment

Supportive is written on blocks which are being held by many hands.

Creating a Supportive Environment Activity PDF

These slides provide one example of how you can help someone learn more about this topic. Think about who might benefit from learning more about creating supportive environments. You might meet with a family member informally, bring this activity to a staff meeting, or organize a breakout activity where several people can talk and share their ideas. The main goal for this activity is to help people think about what a supportive environment is to them personally. Sharing personal ideas about supportive environments shows us how different our beliefs and values are and help us learn about different cultures.

You can watch how this skill-building activity called Creating a Supportive Environment was presented in a webinar setting.

The goal is to help others think about how their own preferences can sometimes interfere with supports for the children or adults they serve. Imagine living in a setting where every day a new person is present in your life who expects you to engage in their morning routine. This is a common experience for people with disabilities, traumatic brain injury, and mental health issues who receive support from different staff.

In some cultures, the family and community are held in high regard and decisions are made together. In these settings, children and adults as well as their parents, caregivers, or siblings and others can share what is best for the family and/or a larger community as a whole. Not realizing or attending to the importance of family and/or community values when helping a child or adult build a positive environment can contribute to feelings of disconnection, confusion, conflict, and trauma.

  • Use person-centered tools to help people gather information and build stronger relationships
  • Spend time learning more about the cultural background of each child or adult supported
  • Use active listening skills when interacting with the child and adult and the people who are important to them
  • Organize times for each person involved in supporting a person to reflect on the cultural values and beliefs they have so that everyone has a chance to learn from each other
  • Set aside some time to observe a child or adult who may not be able to communicate what is important to them
  • Ask people who know the child or adult well about what a supportive environment might look like, especially if the child or adult has trouble communicating these details

Visit the Module 3 Resouce Page for more ideas, tools, and resources that can help you gather information.