The Basics of CPI Training Explained

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CPI training, or Crisis Prevention Intervention, is a program specifically created to aid individuals, parents, and families, with knowledge and skills to handle stressful situations involving their autistic children. Some of the critical elements include verbal de-escalation and physical interventions. Furthermore, these management techniques are vital for those who care for autistic individuals to help them throughout their lives. This post will explore the basics of CPI training, including its history, techniques, and benefits.

What is CPI?

So, what is CPI training? This is a specialized program that equips individuals, parents, and families with the knowledge and skills to handle crises safely and effectively. CPI training covers a range of techniques, from verbal de-escalation to physical interventions. It’s designed to help parents maintain a safe environment for their autistic children, their families, and their friends.

Understanding CPI training

The Crisis Prevention Institute developed CPI training in the 1980s in response to a growing need for training in nonviolent crisis intervention in any instance. The program has been continuously updated to reflect the latest research and best practices in crisis prevention and intervention. Specific updates are being made to align with the needs of children with autism. CPI training is now recognized as a leading program in crisis prevention and has been implemented worldwide.

The philosophy behind CPI training is based on the belief that autistic children can be effectively supported and guided through crisis situations without physical intervention. The program emphasizes verbal de-escalation techniques and non-verbal communication to prevent and manage crises. This is particularly vital for children with autism — and between 25% to 50% of autistic children are impacted by nonverbal autism. These techniques work well for parents and caregivers and doctors and medical practitioners, especially in emergencies. 

CPI training also recognizes the importance of physical intervention as a last resort and provides parents of autistic children with the necessary skills to intervene safely and effectively. CPI training aims to promote a safe and respectful environment for everyone involved in a crisis. It is important to note that autistic individuals sometimes have underlying problems that trigger aggression. While they are not being aggressive intentionally, something that disrupts their routine, lack of sleep, and overwhelming stimuli can create a stressful environment, triggering aggression. This is why learning and practicing CPI techniques are vital for parents and caregivers. 

CPI training techniques

CPI training covers a range of techniques that can be used to prevent and manage crises safely and effectively. These techniques include:

Verbal de-escalation techniques

Verbal de-escalation techniques involve using effective communication skills to calm autistic children in crisis and prevent the situation from escalating further. For autistic children, a crisis can be several different things, while it is entirely different for a child who is not on the spectrum. These techniques include active listening, empathy, validation, and non-judgmental language. Verbal de-escalation techniques can be particularly effective in preventing physical intervention, especially for parents of autistic children.

Non-verbal communication techniques

Non-verbal communication techniques involve using body language, eye contact, and tone of voice to communicate with autistic children in crisis. These techniques can convey empathy, respect, and understanding and help build trust and rapport with the child. Non-verbal communication techniques are often used in conjunction with verbal de-escalation techniques.

Physical interventions

Physical interventions are only used as a last resort in crisis situations when an autistic child poses an immediate threat of harm to themselves or others. These situations are often the most extreme, so CPI training provides individuals with the necessary skills to intervene safely and effectively. This includes the use of minimal force and restraint techniques to de-escalate stressful situations and keep everyone safe from harm. 

Physical interventions should always be used as a last resort and only in accordance with established policies and procedures, especially when it involves children.

Benefits of CPI training

CPI training offers a range of benefits. Some of the key benefits of CPI training include:

Improved safety for family and friends

CPI training equips families and friends with the knowledge and skills to prevent and manage crises safely and effectively. By using verbal de-escalation techniques and non-verbal communication, family members and parents can often prevent crisis situations from escalating further, reducing the risk of harm to themselves and their autistic children.

Reduced use of physical intervention

Physical intervention should always be used as a last resort in crisis situations involving autistic children. CPI training emphasizes non-violent crisis intervention techniques, which can often prevent the need for physical intervention altogether. By reducing the use of physical intervention, CPI training can promote a safer and more respectful environment for everyone involved. Providing a safe environment for autistic children is crucial to their development and relationship-building.

Better communication and relationships with family and friends

CPI training emphasizes the importance of effective communication skills, including active listening, empathy, and validation. By using these skills, parents, family members, and even friends can build trust and rapport with autistic children, which can lead to better communication and relationships over time. This is ultimately important since autistic children have difficulty grasping verbal emotions. So the better parents and caregivers communicate with their children, the better for the child in the long run.

Closing thoughts

CPI training is a valuable tool for parents, families, and friends of autistic children, providing them with the skills and knowledge to prevent and manage crisis situations safely and effectively. 

By using verbal de-escalation techniques, non-verbal communication, and physical interventions when necessary, individuals can help to create a safer and more respectful environment for everyone involved. 

The benefits of CPI training include improved safety for autistic children and their families, reduced use of physical intervention, and better communication and relationships for everyone involved. 

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Mashum Mollah is an entrepreneur, founder and CEO at, a blogger outreach agency that drives visibility, engagement, and proven results. He blogs at Blogstellar.

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