Learn About CPI Training

What Is CPI Training?

We take a look at what CPI is and why it is so beneficial for de-escalating crises for children with autism.

At Lighthouse Autism Center, safety is our priority, and we take great pride in the safety of our centers. Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI) training is one of many safety precautions implemented at all Lighthouse Autism Centers. All of our employees receive weeks of training before beginning therapy with a child and are certified in First Aid, CPR, and CPI.

We’re going to take a closer look at what CPI is, the benefits of CPI techniques, and why we use it at the Lighthouse Autism Center.

What is CPI?

CPI is a strategy used for crisis prevention for a wide variety of people, including those with autism spectrum disorders. CPI can best be described as non-violent crisis intervention training designed to teach best practices for managing difficult situations and disruptive behaviors in children with autism. Behavior therapists or Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) learn how to identify at-risk individuals and use nonverbal and verbal techniques to defuse hostile behavior. This type of training not only ensures the utmost safety of the children at our centers but also the safety of our staff.

CPI Training

The Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) is an international training organization that specializes in the safe management of disruptive and assaultive behavior. Since 1980, more than six million professionals have participated in CPI’s training, and thousands of organizations worldwide have successfully implemented CPI’s safe, non-harmful techniques and developed comprehensive crisis prevention and intervention plans. Only highly trained and certified CPI instructors are equipped to teach others CPI methods.

What is a CPI instructor?

A CPI instructor is someone who has gone through rigorous training at the CPI international training organization and has been certified as an instructor. They are taught the tools and techniques to instruct and teach others to implement CPI strategies where needed.

The Benefits of CPI at the Lighthouse Autism Center

There are a huge number of benefits when it comes to using CPI strategies. These are the most notable. 

  • Teaches staff to recognize and respond to a crisis appropriately: CPI teaches our staff imperative decision-making skills to effectively match their response to the level of risk in the crisis. They learn to focus on the least restrictive response to ensure crises are de-escalated with as little fuss as possible. They are taught how to recognize the different stages of an escalating crisis and how to use evidence-based techniques to de-escalate.
  • Safe physical intervention as a last resort: Staff are trained to respond appropriately to the level of risk. Sometimes de-escalation strategies don’t work, and the risk requires physical intervention. CPI teaches staff the best physical intervention strategies to ensure as little trauma as possible.
  • It’s fully accredited: CPI is an evidence-based training program that is also fully accredited. The training is reviewed bi-annually to ensure all interventions are up to international standards.

Why We Use CPI at Lighthouse Autism Center

While CPI is an excellent non-violent crisis intervention strategy for a wide range of people, it’s particularly effective for children with autism. People with autism have unique characteristics, and the nature of autism means that there are some special circumstances to consider when employing CPI techniques with them. 

Here are just a few of the CPI strategies we use for children with autism. 

Learn How Autism Shows Up in Individual Children

Autism shows up in every person differently, and there is no such thing as one size fits all. Our staff works closely with a child’s parents, teachers, and other adults in their lives to learn about their specific anxiety signs and triggers. For example, some children with autism can clench their fists when they are happy or excited. Others do this when they are starting to feel anxious or frustrated. How does a particular child show anxiety?

It’s important to understand what triggers every child has. Do they like to be touched? Or should touching be avoided? Do they like schedules, and if so, what kind of schedules? What are their very favorite things? What has helped calm this child down in the past? You can see the other important questions that are asked in our Tips for Parents blog post.

These types of questions allow our staff to intervene using the right type of support to avoid escalation.

Teach Communication Skills

Children with autism struggle to verbalize their needs and wants, which often leads to frustration. Our staff finds out how the child tends to communicate when they ask for things. They will also teach the child how to ask for specific things that might not be tangible.

We will figure out the best system for the child, whether that’s verbal, sign language, or something in between. Teaching children with autism these skills is an excellent way to avoid crises and escalating frustration.

Avoiding Reinforcement of Problematic Behaviors

It can be quite easy to accidentally reinforce a problematic behavior. For example, if a child throws everything off the table because they don’t want to do a particular task and you then immediately give them a break, this could be something they will use in the future to get what they want.

CPI strategies will instead call for a few more simple tasks that won’t stress the child out and then prompt the child to indicate they want a break using a productive communication skill that they have been taught.

Safely Using Holds as a Last Resort

CPI strategies only use physical interventions as the very last resort and only when the child’s behavior is posing more risk to their own safety than any physical hold does. We are taught to safely and effectively use physical interventions with children in a way that causes no harm and that also doesn’t reinforce problematic behaviors. Some children find the pressure of holds comforting and will resort to aggression if they know that they will be held as a result.

The Best Autism Treatment With Lighthouse Autism Center

At Lighthouse Autism Center, we believe that we can help every child reach their true potential with our innovative treatment approach to autism. CPI strategies are just a facet of the incredible work that our staff do throughout our centers.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like to talk to someone about our treatments and how we can help your child.

Together, we can unlock your child’s potential

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