Course Overview

The online course called “Beyond Behavior: The Cognitive Abilities and Intervention Strategies (CAIS)” consists of five one-hour modules. The course focuses on relating to a person with cognitive challenges or distressing behavior. It explores how to reduce distress (including frustration and stress for you and for a person you are interacting with) and distressing situations by looking beyond a person’s behavior to this person’s cognitive abilities, since changes in a person’s cognitive abilities can frequently cause distress and changes in behavior. The course looks at effects of changes in the brain on cognitive abilities (for example, the ability to think, imagine, and to understand and respond to your surroundings), and how changes in cognitive abilities affect a person’s behavior and emotions, their ability to communicate and perform tasks, and their sensitivity to the behavior of others.

The five course modules address: Module I: the brain and cognition, Module II: cognitive abilities, Module III: the environment, Module IV: communication, and Module V: the task and daily routines. They explore the concepts behind the role each of these play in a person’s ability to communicate and perform tasks and to feel comfort and competent, and in their behavior. The course also introduces the CAIS Questions to Ask and CAIS Intervention Strategies, a guide to supporting a person and their cognitive abilities. It shows examples from and how to use each of the four parts of the CAIS (which address the topics covered in Modules 2-4). The CAIS Questions to Ask is 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 conditions around this person the environment, communication with this person, and the structure and timing of tasks support this person’s cognitive abilities. The CAIS Intervention Strategies suggest practical, concrete, everyday intervention strategies (support strategies) that can address this person’s specific cognitive needs and strengths by modifying their environment, communication, and their task and daily routines.

This course is for anyone who interacts with a person, assists with a task, or advises (or supervises) someone who does. You do not need specialized expertise or training to use the CAIS or to take the online course.

  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Credit Hours: MCBAP-R (0.0) MCBAP-S (0.0) Mi-CEC (0.0) Nursing (0.0)
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This course is only assignable via your agency.
This course is unavailable for direct enrollment, please contact the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan.

Topics Covered

  1. Describe how a person’s cognitive abilities play a major role in a person’s ability to communicate, perform a task, and feel competent and comfortable.  

  1. List (using the CAIS) five phases of cognitive processing that a person goes through to respond to others and to the environment, and that guide intervention planning to address a person’s cognitive strengths and needs.  

  1. Use the CAIS Cognitive Abilities Questions to Ask  

  1. List appropriate intervention strategies for a person’s specific cognitive strengths and needs by using the CAIS Cognitive Intervention Strategies.   

Additional Considerations

Have you wondered why a person acts the way they do? Or why a person seems to get upset over nothing? Or how to get a person to do something when you are in a hurry? If so, this course is for you. It takes a close look at the causes of distress and how to address them. It gives tips on how to respond to or even prevent distressing behavior and situations.


Course Objectives

For a person with cognitive challenges and you who are helping or interacting with them:

  • Increase comfort, quality of life, and the ability to communicate and perform tasks
  • Reduce distress and distressing situations, including frustration, fatigue, stress, and discomfort
  • Address this person’s cognitive abilities by using and relying on this person’s cognitive strengths, and supporting, adapting to, or compensating for this person’s cognitive needs

What People Are Saying

The online course was user friendly and helped me to understand the trials of the persons served by their team.

- Dorien N.