Portrait photo In the 1970s I was relating to a variety of people who were living with psychiatric and/or brain disorders in my work. I often saw frustration, stress, and anger, as well as pleasure and great empathy in the people living with a diagnosis, and in those who were relating to them. I noticed that the way a person acted and felt often depended to a great extent on how someone interacted with them. I remember asking myself “What is it that allows a person to feel better or to communicate or perform tasks more easily some times than other times?” “What role does the brain play in how a person acts, thinks, and feels?” “What can I do to help a person when each person seems to be so unique?” “How can I reduce the distress and frustration, and increase the satisfaction and contentment?” So, I began graduate school (before a degree in neuropsychology existed) and spent the next forty-three years trying to find the answers to these questions. Here is some of what I’ve come up with. I am very excited! You’ll find below practical everyday intervention or support strategies you can try that address a person’s cognitive abilities and other effects of changes in the brain. They can help you reduce and prevent distress and distressing situations, and help you and a person you relate to feel comfortable and enjoy your time together! I hope you too find these strategies helpful and exciting!

- Shelly Weaverdyck, PhD, author of the Cognitive Abilities and Intervention Strategies (CAIS) - Beyond Behavior resources and online course, the CAIS, and the CAIS three volume manual.


If you find yourself feeling frustrated with a person you are assisting or relating to, or simply want to help a person grow or feel more comfortable and competent, these resources and course may be useful to you. They can help you understand why distress and distressing situations occur and how to prevent them, as well as how to respond to and help this person.

The resources, including the Cognitive Abilities and Intervention Strategies (the CAIS), and the course of five modules in this Beyond Behavior category, search behind the behavior to understand the causes of behavior and how to address them in a way that helps a person. They describe the brain and how changes in the brain affect a person’s cognitive abilities (for example, their ability to think, imagine, and to understand and respond to their surroundings). They provide intervention strategies that address a person’s cognitive abilities so that this person can feel more comfortable and competent, communicate, perform tasks more easily, and in general live a more fulfilling life. The CAIS, course, and resources are relevant to persons living with brain disorders, such as Dementia (Major Neurocognitive Disorder including Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia with Lewy Bodies, Frontotemporal Dementia, and others), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Autism, and Stroke, as well as with Mental Illness or mental health challenges. They are also in fact relevant to any person with or without a brain disorder, and whether or not this person functions easily or with difficulty.

The Cognitive Abilities and Intervention Strategies (CAIS) provides a set of questions to ask yourself to identify a person’s cognitive abilities, including their cognitive strengths and cognitive needs. Additional questions identify how well the environment, interactions with this person, and the structure and timing of tasks support this person’s cognitive abilities. Practical, concrete, everyday intervention strategies (support strategies) are then provided to address this person’s specific cognitive strengths and needs by modifying the environment, communication, and the task and daily routines. These are individualized to a particular person and situation and are also useful for general education, intervention planning, or program design. They can prevent and reduce distress, stress, frustration, and distressing situations. The CAIS is adapted from the Cognitive Impairment Assessment Protocol (CIAP) and the Cognitive Impairment Intervention Protocol (CIIP) by the same author, Shelly Weaverdyck, PhD.

 

The following resources are provided in three volumes of the CAIS manual:

  1. The Cognitive Abilities and Intervention Strategies (CAIS) Questions to Ask in Volume 2, with an introduction and instructions for using the CAIS and for using each of the following four parts of the CAIS: 1. Cognitive Abilities, 2. The Environment, 3. Communication, 4. The Task and Daily Routines.
  2. The Cognitive Abilities and Intervention Strategies (CAIS) Intervention Strategies in Volume 2, with an introduction and instructions for using the CAIS and for using each of the following four parts of the CAIS: 1. Cognitive Abilities, 2. The Environment, 3. Communication, 4. The Task and Daily Routines.
  3. An Online course with five one-hour modules to learn how the CAIS is structured and how to use it. It also provides an additional orientation to the concepts and background information. Modules 1-5 address the brain, cognitive abilities, the environment, communication, and the task, respectively.
  4. A curriculum of five sessions called the CAIS Educational Series in Volume 3. These sessions can be presented formally or used informally when sharing information, problem-solving, supervising, or advising. Sessions 1-5 address the brain, cognitive abilities, the environment, communication, and the task, respectively. These sessions include informal questions to ask. Each session has a script, objectives, PowerPoint slides, handouts, and evaluation forms. An introduction to the series is provided.
  5. Additional background information in Volume 1 presented as five chapters and an introduction to the concepts. Each chapter accompanies one of the five modules of the online course and one of the five sessions of the curriculum. The chapter topics are the brain, cognitive abilities, the environment, communication, and the task, respectively. These chapters and introductions provide additional and more in-depth information and background resources for the CAIS, online course, and curriculum.
  6. CAIS handouts (43 total) in Volume 1 with information and suggestions that go into more depth regarding specific topics that the CAIS, the online course, the chapters, and the curriculum address (such as visuospatial interventions or frontal lobe interventions, or specific lobes of the brain). They are additional background resources about the brain, cognitive abilities, and intervention and support strategies. They present information and intervention suggestions that address the needs of readers at various levels of understanding and experience, so specific handouts can be distributed to individuals or groups based on specific needs. Most of the handouts are 2-5 pages long; some are longer. An introduction to describe how to use the handouts is provided, as is a list of all 43 handouts.

2 Courses in Cognitive Abilities and Intervention Strategies (CAIS) - Beyond Behavior

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Additional Resources in Cognitive Abilities and Intervention Strategies (CAIS) - Beyond Behavior

The goal of IMP is to provide the most up to date, evidence-based information for your continued learning. As part of that, IMP can provide additional resources like a full IMP Encyclopedia and multiple supplementary videos on the various topics covered in the courses.

By clicking the Resources menu, you will find information under the Advisory Groups, Encyclopedia, and Supplementary Videos menu items.

Cognitive Abilities and Intervention Strategies (CAIS) - Beyond Behavior specific resources can be found below. 

Volumes 1 - 3

Volume 1 - Tips and Concepts Behind The CAIS

5 chapters with similar titles to the session titles in Vol 3 and the module titles in the online course. The titles of Chapters 2-5 match the titles of the four parts of the CAIS in Vol 2.  Vol 1 has an introduction, the five chapters, and all the CAIS Handouts (43 total) which give an in-depth look at the CAIS concepts and intervention strategies.

  1. Introduction to the Three-Volume Manual (with Table of Contents)
  2. Introduction to Volume 1
  3. Chapter 1 (Brain and Cognition)
  4. Chapter 2 (Cognitive Abilities)
  5. Chapter 3 (Environment)
  6. Chapter 4 (Communication)
  7. Chapter 5 (Task and Daily Routines)
  8. Handouts Introduction
  9. Handout List
  10. Handouts (43 total)

Volume 2 - CAIS Questions and Intervention Strategies

CAIS questions and intervention strategies organized in 4 parts: Cognitive Abilities, The Environment, Communication, and The Task.

  1. Introduction to Volume 2
  2. Complete Instructions and Introduction for CAIS

Cognitive Abilities CAIS

  1. CAIS Cognitive Abilities Brief Instructions and Introduction
  2. CAIS Cognitive Abilities Yes/No Questions to Ask
  3. CAIS Cognitive Abilities Four Point Questions to Ask
  4. CAIS Cognitive Abilities 1-Sensory Intervention Strategies
  5. CAIS Cognitive Abilities 2-Comprehension/Perception Intervention Strategies
  6. CAIS Cognitive Abilities 3-Executive Intervention Strategies
  7. CAIS Cognitive Abilities 4-Expressive Intervention Strategies
  8. CAIS Cognitive Abilities 5-Motor Intervention Strategies

Environment CAIS

  1. CAIS Environment Brief Instructions and Introduction
  2. CAIS Environment Additional Instructions
  3. CAIS Environment Yes/No Questions to Ask
  4. CAIS Environment Four Point Questions to Ask
  5. CAIS Environment Intervention Strategies

Communication CAIS

  1. CAIS Communication Brief Instructions and Introduction
  2. CAIS Communication Yes/No Questions to Ask
  3. CAIS Communication Four Point Questions to Ask
  4. CAIS Communication Intervention Strategies

Task And Daily Routines CAIS

  1. CAIS Task and Daily Routines Brief Instructions and Introduction
  2. CAIS Task and Daily Routines Yes/No Questions to Ask
  3. CAIS Task and Daily Routines Four Point Questions to Ask
  4. CAIS Task and Daily Routines Intervention Strategies

Volume 3 - Teaching, Advising, and Learning the CAIS Concepts

5 sessions in the curriculum (called the CAIS Educational Series). Volume 3 has an introduction to Volume 3, an introduction to the curriculum sessions, and then all 5 sessions. Curriculum includes script, handouts, slides, evaluation forms.  This is for someone who wants to present this material either to a group/class or in an informal setting while advising. A bit more basic than the online course.

  1. Introduction to Volume 3
  2. Education Curriculum Sessions 1-5 Introduction

Education Session 1: Brain and Cognition

  1. Education Curriculum Session 1 Script
  2. Education Curriculum Session 1 Slides
  3. Education Curriculum Session 1 Handout One: Brain and Cognitive Abilities
  4. Education Curriculum Session 1 Handout Two: Four Factors
  5. Education Curriculum Session 1 Handout Three: Overview of Five Sessions
  6. Education Curriculum Session 1 Pre-Session Form
  7. Education Curriculum Session 1 Post-Session Form
  8. Education Curriculum Session 1 Evaluation Form

Education Session 2: Cognitive Abilities

  1. Education Curriculum Session 2 Script
  2. Education Curriculum Session 2 Slides
  3. Education Curriculum Session 2 Handout: Understanding Cognitive Abilities
  4. Education Curriculum Session 2 Pre-Session Form
  5. Education Curriculum Session 2 Post-Session Form
  6. Education Curriculum Session 2 Evaluation Form

Education Session 3: Environment

  1. Education Curriculum Session 3 Script
  2. Education Curriculum Session 3 Slides
  3. Education Curriculum Session 3 Handout: Understanding the Environment
  4. Education Curriculum Session 3 Pre-Session Form
  5. Education Curriculum Session 3 Post-Session Form
  6. Education Curriculum Session 3 Evaluation Form

Education Session 4: Communication

  1. Education Curriculum Session 4 Script
  2. Education Curriculum Session 4 Slides
  3. Education Curriculum Session 4 Handout: Understanding Communication
  4. Education Curriculum Session 4 Pre-Session Form
  5. Education Curriculum Session 4 Post-Session Form
  6. Education Curriculum Session 4 Evaluation Form

Education Session 5: Task and Daily Routines

  1. Education Curriculum Session 5 Script
  2. Education Curriculum Session 5 Slides
  3. Education Curriculum Session 5 Handout: Understanding the Task and Daily Routines
  4. Education Curriculum Session 5 Pre-Session Form
  5. Education Curriculum Session 5 Post-Session Form
  6. Education Curriculum Session 5 Evaluation Form

Handouts

Addressing Cognitive Abilities

  1. Messages about Cognitive Intervention: Suggestions about the Basics of Addressing a Person’s Cognitive Abilities
  2. Messages about Cognitive Abilities: Suggestions of Assumptions to Make about a Person who Needs Help

Cognitive Abilities and The Brain

  1. Cognitive Abilities Listed: Five Phases of Cognitive Processing
  2. Understanding Cognitive Abilities: Questions to Ask: Adaptation of Handout from Session Two of the CAIS Educational Series
  3. Recognizing Cognitive Abilities: Suggestions for Recognizing Evidence of a Person’s Cognitive Strengths and Needs
  4. The Healthy Brain and Cognition: Information about Cognitive Abilities and Parts of the Brain
  5. Brain Changes and the Effects on Cognition: Information about Parts of the Brain, Cognitive Abilities, and Dementia
  6. The Brain and Cognitive Abilities: Adaptation of Handout One from Session One of the CAIS Educational Series
  7. Hand Dominance Criteria: Suggestions of Evidence a Person is Left or Right Handed
  8. Comments about the Brain: Information about the Brain and Effects of Brain Changes Summarized

Understanding How a Person, Environment, Task, and Communication Affect Cognitive Abilities

  1. Domains to Explore: Suggestions of Information to Gather as you Consider How to Help
  2. Helping a Person with a Task: Suggestions for Adapting the Environment, Communication, and the Task and Why
  3. Understanding the Environment: Questions to Ask: Adaptation of Handout from Session Three of the CAIS Educational Series
  4. Features of the Environment to Consider and Why: Nine Aspects that Affect Cognitive Abilities: 4 pages
  5. Understanding Communication: Questions to Ask: Adaptation of Handout from Session Four of the CAIS Educational Series
  6. Understanding the Task and Daily Routines: Questions to Ask: Adaptation of Handout from Session Five of the CAIS Educational Series

Causes of Cognitive Change

  1. Three Questions About Cause: Suggestions for a Search for the Reasons Cognitive Changes are Occurring Now
  2. Change in Cognition Questions: Suggestions for Exploring Possible Reasons for Cognitive Changes in Mental Illness
  3. Alzheimer’s Disease: Information and Intervention Suggestions with an Emphasis on Cognition
  4. Dementia with Lewy Bodies: Information and Intervention Suggestions with an Emphasis on Cognition
  5. Frontotemporal Dementia: Information and Intervention Suggestions with an Emphasis on Cognition

Intervention: Supporting Cognitive Abilities

Improving Communication, Task Performance, Happiness; Reducing Distress

  1. Four Factors and Basic Concepts for Intervention: Suggestions for Assisting a Person by Addressing their Cognitive Abilities
  2. Four Factors: Cognitive Abilities and Intervention Strategies: Adaptation of Handout Two from Session One of the CAIS Educational Series
  3. Do’s to Remember: Suggestions for Preventing and Responding to Distress and Distressing Situations
  4. Responding to Distress, Pain, and Needs of a Person: Suggestions of Verbal and Nonverbal Strategies
  5. Emotions: Suggestions of How to Recognize Nonverbal Evidence
  6. Touch: Suggestions for Touching a Person with Changes in Cognitive Abilities
  7. Movement with Less Distress: Suggestions for Moving a Part of the Body of a Person who Needs Help
  8. Visual-Spatial Interventions: Suggestions for Helping a Person by Addressing their Visuospatial Abilities
  9. Vision and Hearing Interventions: Suggestions for Helping a Person by Addressing their Cognitive Abilities
  10. Task Complexity and Intervention Method: Suggestions for Modifying a Task to Address Cognitive Abilities
  11. Making Decisions: Suggestions for Helping a Person Make their Own Decisions by Addressing their Cognitive Abilities
  12. Simple Activities: Suggestions of Adult Activities that Support Cognitive Abilities
  13. Sleep Interventions: Suggestions for Helping a Person by Addressing their Cognitive Abilities
  14. Interventions for a Person with Brain Changes in the Frontal Lobe: Suggestions for Helping a Person by Addressing their Cognitive Changes
  15. Interventions for a Person with Right Hemispheric Brain Changes: Suggestions for Helping a Person by Addressing their Cognitive Changes
  16. Dementia with Lewy Bodies Interventions: Suggestions for Helping a Person Living with DLB
  17. Frontotemporal Dementia Interventions: Suggestions for Helping a Person Living with FTD
  18. Sharing Ideas with Others: Suggestions for Sharing Information, Support, and Intervention Ideas

Distressing Situations

  1. Ten Questions about Distress: Suggestions of Questions to Ask when Advising about Distressing Situations and a Person in Distress
  2. Response to Acute Distress: Suggestions of Questions to Consider when Assisting a Person with Cognitive Changes
  3. Planning an Intervention for a Distressing Situation: Suggestions for How to Address the Distress
  4. Methods and Occasions for Assessment: Suggestions of Types and Times of Assessment for a Person with Cognitive Changes