Some students with Attention Disorders or on the Autism Spectrum often lack Executive Function Skills. These skills help us plan, organize, make decisions, shift between situations or thoughts, control our emotions and impulsivity, and learn from past mistakes. That means they have difficulties with analyzing, planning and organizing. Here are 3 key strategies for managing executive function skill weakness:
Executive function skills help us plan, organize, make decisions, shift between situations or thoughts, control our emotions and impulsivity, and learn from past mistakes.
Students with weak executive functioning often have difficulties analyzing, planning and organizing.
Following are 3 key strategies for supporting a student some definitions related to executive function:
Intervene at the place where you see the area of need:
1. Change the Physical or Social Environment
a. seating arrangements,
b. fewer kids- more adults,
c. class helpers,
d. fewer distractions
2. Modify the Tasks we Expect the Child to Preform
a. shorter tasks,
b. break task down into smaller steps,
c. more breaks,
d. visual schedule,
e. give choices of topic,
f. turn in date (provide more time),
g. change the order,
h. give a start and end point.
3. Change the way adults interact with the child
a. role-play situations and their response,
b. use verbal prompts,
c. use checklists,
d. effective praise – 4-5 positives for each corrective feedback.
All of these strategies can work at home and/or the classroom. Families should work with their child’s teacher, school counselor and/or school psychologist to find ways to support their child in the classroom, with recommendations of ways to follow through at home.
The supports should focus on strengths and provide help where needed to develop tools and systems to support and strengthen weaker areas.