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The Eight Mandates

1. Is there enough structure? Lack of structure is a common cause of failure for someone with a cognitive disability. Ideally, environment will provide predictable activities that promote security and learning.

2. Is there enough consistency? As much as possible the person need to do the same task as the same time with the same people to establish a familiar routine. Consistent daily scheduling helps make the environment more predictable, helps reduce confusion and agitation and promotes greater independence.

3. Is there enough repetition? Due to the cognitive problems and memory difficulties, repetition on critical tasks and information is necessary to effect learning. Failure to provide enough repetitions to learn often prevents goals from being attained.

4. Is there enough reward? Are there rewards that make the activity valuable to the person? Rewards help create meaning and purpose for achievement.

5. Is there enough support? Support is the main success for someone with cognitive disabilities. It not only decreases the chance of someone having problems, but decreases the magnitude if problems do occur.

6. Is it specific enough? Persons with cognitive disabilities often have difficulty generalizing learning from one situation to another. Support should focus on specific activities relevant to that particular person.

7. Is it practical enough? Activities and goals should make sense to the person and be achievable with support. Plans can become too complex and intricate to carry them out successfully.

8. Is it meaningful? People are much more likely to put forth effort to achieve goals that are meaningful to them. Identify what is important to the person and what they are willing to work towards.

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