The Mini Training Everything You Need to Know

About Executive Functioning

Learn about Improving Executive Functioning Skills Now!

 

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Discussed in this Episode:

✅What is Executive Functioning

✅Why Impaired Executive Functioning Is Impacts on Student’s Learning

✅ 7 Ways to Improve Executive Functioning

✅ Download Fabulous PDF Summary for Executive Functioning

Learn more about Improving Executive Functioning Skills!

Executive Functioning & Autism/ADHD – What is it? What to do?

Executive functioning refers to the part of your brain that organises, prioritises and regulates emotions. However, I prefer to refer to it as the ‘Air Traffic Control,’ as just like air traffic control has to manage thousands of planes on countless runways with perfect timing, students have to manage information and distractions.

Impaired Executive Function can impact significantly on students with autism’s ability to learn and engage in busy learning environments.

Students may not struggle with all areas of Executive Functioning to the same degree. It is important to identify which areas the student needs supports, and put in place strategies to support and develop this skill. I find that if the child has had an assessment by a psychologist it is worth checking which areas were identified as impaired and then using these results to help guide the strategies used to improve their executive functioning.

I find that strategies to address Executive Functioning are often helpful for ALL students but are particularly VITAL for students with autism/AHHD in making a difference to their learning, behaviour and social skills.

Fortunately, we can improve executive functioning skills through a range of strategies, below are some examples.

1.Emotional Control

This is where they have difficulty with behaviour and emotional control. This can look like difficulty waiting for a turn, getting frustrated easily, off task behaviours, overreaction to the smallest things (e.g. not being first), becoming overwhelmed or meltdowns.

How to Improve Emotional Control

✅   Sensory tools, break cards, take a break tables,

✅   Emotion Cards that communicate how they are feelingand what to do to repair emotions.

✅   Resources like ‘The Kids Guide to Being Awesome and in Control‘ are full of great strategies for teaching emotional regulation. Available here.

✅   Social Scripts that help students with turn taking, waiting, putting hand up to wait for a turn. See pg 3 on How to write Social Scripts

2. Impulse Control

This can be calling out, distracting others, aggression /fighting, rushing through activities without checking or inconsistency with following rules.

How to Improve Impulse Control

✅   Redirection – telling them ‘what do do’ not ‘not what to do’ i.e. ‘Put your hand up’ rather than ‘No Calling out’

✅   Social Scripts that explain how to put up hand, rules for playground and group work

✅   Prewarn about rules and expectations in specific situations : use visuals where possible

3. Planning and Priotising

This is where they have difficulty deciding the steps needed to reach a goal order of importance. As a result they may get no work done, be easily distracted, avoid tasks and may be easily overwhelmed. They may also have trouble seeing the main idea and easily go off topic.

How to Improve Planning & Prioritising

✅   Visual Planning Supports such as: Mindmaps, Rubrics,

✅   Support Staff spending individual time with the student to help break down tasks down, prioritise & plan

✅    Using Calendars, Diaries (make sure have set times to write in and check)

✅    Break Tasks into set up small achievable steps, tick off each step when completed

Improving Executive Functioning Skills

4. Organising

This includes ability to keep track of information and things.

How to Improve Organisation

✅     Systems in place for organization i.e.own hook in bag area away from busy areas

✅     Minimising equipment and books i.e. one book/folder or limiting the side of pencil case and its contents

✅     Take Photos of how desk/locker/bag should look so remind them where things go

✅     Help write down plans and thoughts and organize logically.

5. Task Initiation

This often looks like a student sitting doing nothing, being oppositional ‘I am not doing it’ or procrastinating (need toilet etc.). Then in actual fact they are often just so overwhelmed they don’t know how to start.

How to Improve Task Initiation

✅    Give a Partner to work with, who can model what to do

✅    Limit and write down instructions where possible

✅    Simplify worksheets

✅    Traffic Light Strategy

6. Flexibility

They often don’t like to change or stop in the middle of an activity. They don’t see other options or solutions and often don’t understand what is being asked of them. This can result in arguing, getting frustrated /angry and meltdowns. Often take things literally. See Theory of Mind pg 12

How to Improve Flexibility

✅     Timers to pre-warn when to finish.

✅     Routines/Schedules – Understand their need to know what is happening when.

✅     Pre-warn about changes (people and events) ExplainWHY changing and WHAT replacement i.e. Mum is picking you up today as Grandma is at the Doctor

✅     Use Social Scripts that give clear descriptions of what is going to change/new and what I need to do.

7. Working Memory

This is the inability to hold information in their mind and use it to complete a task. Struggle with multi-step tasks, remembering directions, taking notes or understanding something you’ve just explained to them.

How to Improve Working Memory

✅     Visuals -The more visuals the better

✅     Model – SHOW what you want, Don’t Tell

✅     Co-actively do activities: learn best BY DOING and being involved in learning ie hand over hand for handwriting.

✅     Slow it down, Break it Down (instructions etc)

✅     Get them to repeat in own words instructions/direction

Want to Make Your Own Executive Functioning Cheat Sheet

Must Have Executive Functioning Resources

  • Time Timer – 20cm Medium

    $65.00
  • Time Timer – 7.6cm Small

    $50.00
  • Portable Schedule with Digital Timer

    $20.00
  • Time Timer PLUS

    $80.00
  • Step by Step Help for Children with ADHD

    $40.95
  • Executive Function Dysfunction

    $42.95
  • Autism and Everyday Executive Function

    $54.95
  • Time Timer MOD – Charcoal Colour

    $60.00

RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS PODCAST

$20.00

Portable Schedule with Digital Timer | Links visual schedules with a time frame. Great for routines, concept of time, pre-warns how long until finish, self monitoring and more! Choose from the colours below.

Listen to the Podcast on how I use a Keychain & Wait visual as a tool for listening and waiting. Check out a range of great keychains in the sensory tools on my website

More Ideas in my Books: 

| by Sue Larkey | This is the ideal reference for schools to successfully integrate students into the classroom. It provides easy to follow, proven strategies and worksheets to use immediately. Dr. Tony Attwood writes in the foreword: “Sue has a remarkable ability to identify and briefly explain the difficulties experienced by a child with autism in a regular classroom and to suggest realistic and practical strategies to improve abilities and behaviour. Her advice is succinct and wise.”

12 in stock

| by Sue Larkey & Anna Tullemans | Revised and expanded in 2016. A practical guide to secondary school. Ideas for
all staff, from curriculum engagement, accommodations, group work, homework, using technology, behaviour support, organisational skills to building independence. Includes proformas to photocopy and save you time. This book has over 100 pages of proven ideas and strategies. MASSIVE TIME SAVER for busy Teachers & Parents

time saver clock

26 in stock

More Ideas for Using Routines & Repetition : 

The Ultimate Guide: page 45    >> More Info on Best Selling Book with over 500 Strategies
The Early Years: page 31     >>.  More Info on Book with where to start and what to do.
The Teacher Assistant Book: page 22 – 23.  >>  More Info on Top Tips for TAs

Autism and Everyday Executive Function

Product Quantity

Visual Learning

| by Jodi Lee | Academic activities for the Visual Learner. Has over 100 pages of activities made with Boardmaker. Will save you hours of preparation. Encourages independent work. Easy to photocopy, laminate. Under all curriculum areas.

Making it a Success

| by Sue Larkey | This is the ideal reference for schools to successfully integrate students into the classroom. It provides easy to follow, proven strategies and worksheets to use immediately. Dr. Tony Attwood writes in the foreword: "Sue has a remarkable ability to identify and briefly explain the difficulties experienced by a child with autism in a regular classroom and to suggest realistic and practical strategies to improve abilities and behaviour. Her advice is succinct and wise."

Portable Schedule with Digital Timer

Portable Schedule with Digital Timer | Links visual schedules with a time frame. Great for routines, concept of time, pre-warns how long until finish, self monitoring and more! Choose from the colours below.

Insufficient stock

The Ultimate Guide to School and Home

| by Sue Larkey and Anna Tullemans | This book provides key strategies for all ages and stages. It offers over 500 practical strategies and timer savers for school and home from engaging disengaged students, what to do if you don't have a teacher assistant to considerations for setting up a classroom for teachers; and from developing friends, to moving house and choosing a school for families. It is the ultimate guide for teachers, parents and all professionals supporting children with autism spectrum disorder, including Aspergers, ADD, ADHD, ODD and other developmental delays.

Content pages below.

The Early Years: The Foundations For All Learning

| by Sue Larkey & Gay von Ess | This book is full of practical ideas to give children with an ASD and other developmental delays the KEYS to learning. Teaching to play, write, draw, imitate etc. Toilet training, community access, etc. To sit, ask for help, wait, play, attention to task, sign songs, etc. Great easy to photocopy programmes.

Teacher Assistants Big Red Book of Ideas

| by Sue Larkey & Anna Tullemans | Hundreds of ideas you can try. Setting up the classroom, the role of the teacher assistant, behaviour in the classroom and playground, stages of anxiety, transition, sensory toys and activities. Includes frequently asked questions and MORE!

Teacher Assistants Big Blue Book of Ideas

| by Sue Larkey & Anna Tullemans | Companion to the Teacher Assistants Big Red Book of Ideas. Hundreds of new strategies to try. Social skills: playgrounds, friendships, building self esteem, bullying. In the classroom: getting on task, adapting tasks and exams, building independence. Managing anxiety and behaviour.

In stock

Check out my other Podcast on Why Schedules can Help Establish Routines:

Episode 157: How to Create Independence for students on the Autism Spectrum using 3 Key Ingredients

Discussed in this Episode:

✅ Time is the Number one Accommodation and Adjustment every classroom needs to puts in place

✅ 4 Types of Schedules 

✅ Why you need a range of Schedules

✅ Why knowing how long is so important

✅ Range of Visuals to Use

✅ Timer + Visual + Schedule = Independence