Our daily lives are made up of an endless stream of thoughts, decisions, actions and reactions to the people and environment in which we live. The internal and external actions fit together. Sometimes seamlessly. Sometimes not. This is largely dependent upon a set of invisible yet highly important skills we call Executive Functioning (EF). These skills, which involve planning, organizing, sequencing, prioritizing, shifting attention, and time management can be well-developed in some people (think traffic controllers, wedding planners, business CEOs, etc.) and less developed in others. They are vital in all parts of life, from making coffee to running a profitable business. The skills develop naturally, without specific, formal training, and we all have them to some degree – or at least, we all assume we all have them.
Things are never quite as simple as they seem, and these EF skills are no exception. They require a multi-tiered hierarchy of decisions and actions, all coming together within the framework of time, knowledge and resources.
Imagine trying to navigate life when EF skills are impaired or nonexistent, as they are with individuals on the autism spectrum.
Learn more at…
Teaching Organizational Skills to Individuals with ASD by Michelle Garcia Winner, CCC-SLP
Whether students are using organizational skills for homework, doing chores, preparing for a weekend activity or something as simple as getting a snack, as children grow and develop, tasks become increasing complex and dynamic with each passing year. Teachers and parents need to work together in identifying and teaching any or all of the 10 steps mentioned in this article that are problematic for the spectrum child.
In doing so, we give children the tools not just to handle homework, but to be successful in all areas of life. To work on aspects of all 10 steps, however, we need to begin work on these skills while students are still in elementary school. Teaching organizational skills takes time across a long period of time!
Excerpted from www.socialthinking.com. Michelle Garcia Winner is internationally recognized as an innovative clinician, enthusiastic workshop presenter and prolific author in the field of social thinking and social cognitive functioning. Visit their web site for additional information.
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