More and more these days we are hearing about Executive Functions in the literature, in our schools, and in the news related to autism, head injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
If you are like me, maybe you touched upon it in grad school. Even in this case, it was not always clear to see what to do in speech therapy to help clients who struggle with attention, organization, and behavior.
Secondly, this is a hot topic for the general education folks and they are addressing these difficulties head on. Our job as special education people is to support the general education people. How do we do it in this case?
Thirdly, (and this is heartbreaking for me as I am a veteran), soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress are healing but are struggling to cross the last distance where they can organize themselves professionally, keep their relationships together, and initiate on all the actions needed to restart their life back here in the states. These are all frontal lobe activities and I know executive function skills are at the heart of matter.
What do we do?
We do what we always do. We learn. We see how our unique communication skillset can improve lives. We become strong team members. We intervene. And, in the third case above, we save lives.
For some of us, this is a new topic. Others may have a lot of experience in this area but benefit from seeing what the more recent literature says. So, in this course we will start with a quick and interesting discussion about why our students with executive functioning disorders struggle with attention, organization, and behavior. Then, we introduce a simple framework for identifying which executive function skills your student might be struggling with. And we will finish with executive function strategies matched to areas of need.
Participants will be able to:
- Summarize how cognitive differences can negatively impact memory, self-regulation, and academic performance
- List 4 cognitive deficits attributed to executive function difficulties
- Name 6 classroom strategies to improve student attention, recall, memory recall, emotional self-regulation, time management, and focus
2 minutes – Introductions and disclosures
5 minutes – The Importance of Executive Functions
10 minutes – Cognitive Processes and How Executive Functions Develop
10 minutes – Growth of Executive Function Skills Across Youth and Adolescence
10 minutes – The Relationship between Executive Function and Major Diagnosis
5 minutes – Identifying Executive Function Difficulties
15 minutes – Considering the Importance of Motivation and Personal Interest on Executive Function
3 minutes – Closing