Examples of Skill-Building in Positive Supports

What Makes an Environment Supportive?

Assessment written in a notebook surrounded by office supplies

We all process information in different ways. Each person responds to the environment based on their unique perceptions. For example, an autistic person may experience sound or touch in a different way than others. An older adult perceives a setting based on many years of experience and memories from the past. Some people are more attuned to different senses like how a place smells, sounds, or feels. Understanding these differences will help us work with a child or adult to design a unique environment that feels more supportive and welcoming.

Each person experiences the same environment differently. The following senses can vary in important ways for different people:

  • Sight: the power to perceive using the eyes
  • Hearing: sense or perception of sound
  • Taste: The act of testing quality and flavor using the mouth
  • Touch: Using the hands, coming into contact with something in order to feel it and understand it better
  • Smell: Detect the odor or scent of through the nose by means of the olfactory nerves; inhale the odor of:
  • Balance: Equal distribution of weight that makes a state of equilibrium
  • Proprioception: the position and movement of the body
  • Vestibular: the sensory mechanism that helps with balance and coordination

Discovering what a child or adult finds pleasing and comforting is part of the exploration process

  • Color: the way an object responds with respect to light
  • Space: the three-dimensional realm in which material objects are located and all events occur
  • Temperature: a measure of the warmth or coldness of an object
  • Item placement: Arrangement or location of objects
  • Motion: the action or process of changing place or position
  • Nature: the world, surrounding humankind and the elements of the natural world (mountains, trees, animals, or rivers)
  • Proximity: How close or distant one is to a location in space
  • Purpose: the reason for which something is completed or exists