Brain-based skills that are required in order for humans to execute, or perform tasks. These skills develop gradually and at different points of life. By late adolescence, children must be able to function with a reasonable degree of independence. According to research, the source of many cognitive and behavioral difficulties is due to deficits in executive skills.
This model has been designed to help come up with ways that parents and teachers can promote the development of executive skills in kids who have demonstrated weaknesses. TWO premises:1. Most individuals have an array of executive skills strengths as well as executive skills weaknesses.2. The primary purpose of identifying areas of weakness is to be able to design and implement interventions to address those weaknesses.
Skill Definition ExampleResponse Inhibition Capacity to think before A teenager can accept you act. a referee’s call without arguing.Working Memory Ability to hold info in In MS, remembering memory to perform diff. expectations of complex tasks. teachers.Emotional Control Ability to manage emotions Managing anxiety to achieve goals. during a test.Sustained Attention Capacity to maintain Cleaning their room. attention in spite of distractibility.Task Initiation Ability to begin projects in A teen not waiting to a timely fashion the last minute to get a project done.Planning/Prioritization Ability to create a Plan a project based “roadmap” to reach a goal, on deadlines. decide what is important to focus on.
Skill Definition ExampleOrganization Ability to create a system A child be able to use an of keeping track of accordion properly. information or materials.Time Management Capacity to estimate how A teenager be able to much time one has and stay manage computer time. within deadlines.Goal-directed Capacity to have a goal, A first grades can complete follow through on its an assignment in order toPersistence completion. go to recess.Flexibility Ability to revise plans and A child can learn to accept change them accordingly or an alternative restaurant adapt to changing when their favorite is not conditions. an option.Metacognition Ability to stand back, self- Self and peer editing an monitor and self-evaluate. essay.
The skills are organized:Developmentally – the order in which theydevelop.Functionally – what they help the child to do. Potentialfor Executive skills is innate, but there are a number of factors that can influence whether or how these skills develop. (ex: an accident that caused trauma to the brain, genes, and environment)
Thereis a consensus that ADHD/ADD is fundamentally a disorder of executive skills. Most essential one being self-regulation. - affects response inhibition, sustained attention, working memory, time management, task initiation, and goal- directed persistence.* It is important to keep in mind that children do vary in thedevelopment of Executive Skills and that a lack of these skillsdon’t necessarily qualify them for a diagnosis f ADHD/ADD.
Looking at what schools and teachers do in the classroom can sometimes give you an understanding of how executive skills are developing over time (page 30). Preschool – directions are generally given one or two at a time Elementary – working memory tasks are more demanding (homework, permission slips, etc.) How can we assess where a child’s executive skills are? - is the child meeting expectations at school? - how is child doing compared to other kids? (keeping in mind that children develop at different rates)
Series of Questionnaires to give you an idea of executive skills strengths and weaknesses. Takethe time and fill out the last questionnaire (pgs. 50-51)….BE TRUTHFUL!! Capitalizing on Strengths – take advantage of these to help students function effectively in daily activities, reinforcing these if they are still not strong enough.
When a child has an executive skills weakness, pay attention to the child’s emotional and behavioral responses. Consider that if a child is avoiding a task, he/she might not be able to do it. Think about the Executive Skills that the task requires and think about whether the child possesses the skills. Is something in the environment making it difficult for the child to complete the task? (distractions, lack of structure, etc.) If the child has previously been successful completing the task, figure out what made the child succeed.
1. Teach the skills rather than expecting the child to acquire them through observation.2. Consider the child’s developmental level.3. Move from external to internal.4. Remember that external includes changes in environment, task, and interaction with child.5. Use, rather than fight, a child’s innate drive to master a task.6. Modify tasks to match the child’s capacity to exert effort.7. Use incentives to augment instruction.8. Provide just enough support for the child to be successful.9. Keep supports and supervision in place until child achieves success.10. Fade supervision and support gradually, never abruptly.
The antecedent are the external factors of a task. You already are using a lot of environmental modification in other settings (classroom, recess, etc.) Altering the environment instead of the child, may be an easier task. Over time, you transfer the target so that the child becomes the object of intervention.
Ex: having a structured schedule for students witha weakness in flexibility. Other ways you can modify the environment- Physical distractions- Nature of the task (making it shorter, frequent breaks, have a choice, multi-step)- Change way you interact with child – using verbal prompts and reminders Make sure you: praise child for using good skills, debrief, consult with others involved in the situation/task
Teaching the executive skills: naturally and informally by how you respond to a student’s behavior and encourage them.- Verbal scaffolding – ask the “why’s” insteadof telling them- Explaining rather than dictating- Letting the child know you understand how they feel and why
take a more targeted approach and teach child how to manage problematic tasks1. Identify the problem behavior you want to work on (ex: depicting specific behaviors)2. Set a goal (what the child is expected to do)3. Outline steps child needs to follow to reach goal4. Turn steps into checklist, chart, or rules to be followed (ex: Morning Routine pg. 134)5. Supervise child following procedure6. Fade supervision
Focusing on the positive aspects, instead of punishment Punishment tells child what NOT to do, can damage adult/child relationship, and sometimes children feel like they don’t have anything to lose. Effective praise……is delivered immediately after behavior occurs…specifies particulars of accomplishment…provide info about value of accomplishment…lets child know that he/she worked hard…orients child to appreciate critical thinkingbehavior
Book has 20 ready-made plans to teach skills that kids tend to struggle with. Examples:Pg. 134 Morning Routine ListPg. 161 Writing Template for a Five-ParagraphEssayPg. 172 Learning to Control Temper
is the capacity to think before you act1. Always assume that the youngest children have very little impulse control2. Help children delay gratification by using formal waiting periods for things they want3. Require them to earn some of the things they want4. Prepare them for situations by reviewing them in advance5. Role-play
capacity to hold information in the mind while performing complex tasks1. Make eye contact with child when telling them something you want them to remember2. Keep external distractions to a minimum if- you want your child’s full attention3. Use written reminders (checklists, charts, schedules – depending on age of the child)4. Rehearse with the child what you expect them to remember5. Help the child think about ways that can help them to remember (ex: with older kids, the use of agendas, phones, etc.)6. Consider using a reward for remembering key information
The ability to manage emotions to achieve goals, complete tasks, or control and direct your behavior1. With younger children, regulate their environment (ex: away from overstimulating environments)2. Prepare child by talking about what they can expect and what they can do if they feel overwhelmed3. Give them coping strategies4. Read stories in which characters exhibit behaviors you want them to learn5. Work with a counselor or therapist if child does not seem to respond well to any of these strategies
the capacity to keep paying attention to a situation or task in spite of distracting factors.1. Provide supervision2. Make increasing attention a gradual process3. Use a device that provides a visual depiction of elapsed time (clock, etc.)4. Make the task interesting into a challenge, game, or contest5. Use incentive systems6. Offer praise for staying on-task
the ability to begin projects or activities without procrastinating, in an efficient or timely manner1. Reinforce prompt task initiation throughout the day2. Provide visual cues to remind child to begin the task3. Break overwhelming tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces4. Have child make a plan of how or when the task will get done5. Give child ownership over the process, for example deciding how they want to be cued or how they will carry out the plan
the ability to create a roadmap to reach a goal or complete a task, as well as the ability to make decisions about what’s important to focus on.1. Create plans for your child when young2. Involve your child as much as possible in the planning process3. Use things the child wants as a jumping-off point for teaching planning4. Prompt prioritizing by asking your child what needs to get done first
the ability to establish and maintain a system for arranging or keeping track of important items.1. Put a system in place2. Supervise child3. Involve your child as much as possible4. You may need to modify your expectations
capacity to estimate how much time one has, how to allocate it, and how to stay within time limits and deadlines1. Maintain a predictable daily routine in your family2. Talk to children about how long it takes to do things3. Plan an activity for a weekend vacation day that involves several steps4. Purchase a commercially available clock
the ability to revise plans in the face of obstacles, setback, new information, or mistakes.1. Walk children through anxiety-producing situations2. Use social stories to address situations where the child is predictably inflexible3. Help your child come up with a default strategy for handling situations where inflexibility causes the most problems4. Give children choices, some inflexibility arises when children feel they are being controlled
refers to setting a goal and working toward it without being sidetracked1. Start very early, beginning with very brief tasks where the goal is within sight2. Begin with goals that child wants to work on or have set for themselves (building a Lego structure or a puzzle)3. Give the child something to look forward to4. Gradually build up time needed to reach goals5. Remind child what he/she is working towards
the ability to stand back and take a bird’s eye view of oneself in a situation1. Provide specific praise for key elements of task performance2. Teach child how to evaluate their own performance3. Have child identify what finished product looks like4. Teach a set of questions children can ask themselves when confronted with problem situations
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