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Executive Functioning Interventions

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M. Gross

on 25 January 2014

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Transcript of Executive Functioning Interventions

Supporting Your Scattered Students: Evidence-Based Executive Functioning Strategies
What is executive functioning?
Cognitive skills we use to regulate our attention and behavior
Key executive functioning processes
Planning - ordering based on relative importance
Organizing - arranging information, systematizing
Using working memory - manipulating information mentally
Shifting - switching easily between approaches
Self-monitoring/self-checking - keeping track of own behaviors and thoughts
Executive Functioning
A tool for behavior change
Involves a student monitoring and recording his/her own academic or social behaviors
Takes advantage of behavioral principles – by monitoring our own behaviors we are more likely to change them
Research has demonstrated positive impacts for students of different ages (K-12)

What is planning?
The use and creation of a “course of action” to reach a goal or complete a task
Involves Prioritizing

Organization = arranging and systematizing information and materials
Directly teaching organization strategies can be beneficial for all students, and is crucial for some.
Lack of organization strategies can contribute to difficulties accessing academic materials, frustration, and anxiety.
Decide with the student what should be included in the organizational system (e.g., places to keep finished and unfinished homework, a way to file papers, etc.)
Select the materials to use, such as...
Separate binders for different classes
One large binder with dividers
Different colored folders for different subjects
Two-pocket folders can be organized with complete/incomplete pockets
Organization Intervention (Guare & Dawson, 2010)
Implement a planning system which includes reinforcement
Students will record assignments; Teacher will monitor; Students receive points/rewards for recording and completing
Before introducing planning system:
Obtain planning sheets, planners, calendars, etc. for students to use
Determine the system you will use to reward students’ use of planners
Teach Planning (refer to information of “teaching planning”)

Planning and Reinforcement System (HOPS)
1. Define Behavior Target(s)
Teacher and student work collaboratively to determine behavioral targets
Self-monitoring can include behaviors to increase or decrease
Write clear, observable, and realistic behavioral targets
Collect and use baseline data to determine realistic goals and so progress can be measured

Self-Monitoring Intervention
Preparation, continued
Make a list of the materials needed and obtain the materials, either through resources available at school or through contacting parents, if appropriate.
Set up notebooks and folders with clear labeling
Create a checklist of the materials and where they should be located.
1. Introduce the planner

2. Choose a Method for Recording Self-Monitoring Data
Can be written down, but does not have to be

3 common types:
Rating Scale
Frequency Count

Lindsay Oram, Kaylee Conley, and Melinda Gross
Learning Objectives:

Define executive functioning and its importance in the school setting.
Identify an evidence based intervention appropriate for organization, planning, and self-monitoring.
Use three executive functioning interventions in the classroom setting.

Zach hates math. He’d much rather think about riding his bike or playing football than practice math facts, which in turn means that his scores on daily class assignments are poor. He knows his math facts fairly well, but because his assignments are rarely complete he almost never makes passing scores on them.

Susan’s life is always chaotic. She is a junior in high school and had difficulty balancing a part-time job, school, and friends. She often procrastinates, loses items important for work and school, fails to complete assignments and work activities, and is easily distracted. Susan’s boss recently threatened to fire her, her friends are frustrated that she does not spend time with them, and her grades are dropping.

References and Resources
Important organizational skills include...
Organizing key ideas and details for papers and projects
Organizing materials (notes, books, study guides)
Organizing workspace, e.g. removing clutter to optimize productivity
Explicit instruction in organization can help students...
Access the materials they need to work efficiently
Store and use information learned
Choose organizational strategies that are appropriate for different situations
Student is actively involved
Student is explicitly taught academic or behavioral expectations
Economical (time and resources)
Many ways to individualize this intervention
Can be used with an individual student, a group of students, or an entire class
Can be used as a source of data

3. Choose a Self-Monitoring Schedule
Largely depends on behavior

5 Options:
Start of period or day
End of period or day
Scheduled transition points throughout period or day
Start of end of assignment
Fixed intervals through period or day

4. Decide on Monitoring Cue
Triggers student monitoring

Common Cues:
Beep tape
Teacher-delivered cues
Student-delivered cues

5. Choose a Reward for Success (Optional)
Can further motivate student
Choose motivators that are reinforcing
Can discuss the reward system in the first meeting (step 1) or when you teach the student the self-monitoring system
Although not a component of the Intervention Central 7 Steps, it is important to TEACH the student the self-monitoring system prior to use.

6. Conduct Periodic Accuracy Checks
Especially important in the beginning when the student is learning how to self-monitor
Random spot-checks increase quality of student self-monitoring

7. Fade the self-monitoring plan
As student achieves goals the plan should be simplified and eventually discontinued
May involve making the plan less intense, changing the cue, etc.

Example of self-monitoring:
Increasing Planning Skills

Students’ planning abilities can be developed and/or improved by:
Teaching the Skill
Modifying Classroom/School Environment
Using Planning and Reinforcement System (HOPS)
Can be done with individuals or groups of students

Teaching Planning

Provide explicit instruction on planning
Walk students through steps
Model planning
Prompt steps of the planning process
Fade prompts to promote independent planning

Environmental Modifications

Assign tasks that give students an opportunity to practice planning (e.g. long term project, papers, tests)
Break large projects into smaller tasks
Provide timelines for assignments
Develop schedules

2. Introduce the point/reward system
Students will receive points for recording assignments/tasks in planner
Teacher will check planner to ensure student earned points
Once students obtain a predetermined number of points, they will be able to select a reward

3. Alter the planning/points system

Homework, Organization, and Planning Skills (HOPS) Interventions Manual by Joshua M. Langberg

Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents: A Practical Guide to Assessment and Intervention (2nd Edition) by Peg Dawson and Richard Guare


Using checklist, check in with the student daily, either at the beginning or end of day, and have the student make a decision about each piece of material and where it should go.
Reward checklist completion.
When student shows that they are using check list independently, fade by slowly reducing number of sheets teacher collects

To use class-wide, provide a rubric/checklist of materials and specific instructions of how they should be organized.
What do challenges with executive functioning look like?

Has messy and disorganized backpacks and bookbags
Often loses assignments
Forgets to bring materials home or back to school
Forgets to record assignments
Records assignments incorrectly
Forgets to record tests/projects
Fails to record due dates
Does not plan adequately for upcoming tests and procrastinates
Misses deadlines
Has problems balancing school and extracurricular responsibilities
Is missing assignments
from http://studentbinderkjp4.blogspot.com/
Did it work? Sources of data include...
Completed checklists
Percentage of assignments turned in
Full transcript