Community Base Instruction

  • Community Based Instruction (CBI) is designed for students that need intensive instruction in functional and daily living skills. Community Based Instruction (CBI) is educational instruction in naturally occurring community environments providing students “real life experiences”. The goal is to provide a variety of hands on learning opportunities at all age levels to help students acquire the skills to live in the world today.

    Community is defined as the school, home and city community environments in the location the student lives. Students with cognitive challenges have difficulty generalizing or transferring information. When instruction is conducted with the actual materials in the natural environment where a functional skill is expected to be performed or the activity would occur, students’ progress at a greater rate. CBI provides natural opportunities for Adult Living skills practice that is meaningful to students. Concepts and skills that are introduced in the classroom are applied and practiced in natural environments in the community using CBI. CBI experiences allow students to see, hear, smell and do things in real life settings as opposed to simulated or artificial settings that are very abstract. Doing things in the natural environment is concrete, reinforcing, and assists in providing educational relevancy for the student.

    Community-based instruction facilitates chronological age-appropriate activities that can be addressed in home, school or city community environments. As the student ages more emphasis should be placed on CBI as the student prepares for leaving the school support systems to adult life in the community. The community often becomes the primary educational environment as students age. CBI provides the availability of age-appropriate instructional environments for students 18-21 years of age that state law requires. Teaching functional skills will often be a bridge for individuals with disabilities to their communities. A key to CBI is to offer experiences across settings and time periods to promote generalization. Community-Based Instruction enhances community inclusion with students without disabilities, employers, family and other community members, ultimately enhancing an individual’s quality of life. Community-based instruction occurs routinely, on a regularly scheduled basis (i.e., weekly, twice weekly, daily, etc.) and must be specifically related to IEP objectives.