Executive Functioning is a brain-based process and is not simply fixed or disciplined away but rather requires systematic assessment and intervention. It is a set of processes that all have to do with managing oneself and one’s resources in order to achieve a goal.
- Planning and Prioritizing
- Time Management
- Praxis (Motor Planning)
- Self-Regulation (Impulse control)
- Working Memory
- Task Initiation
- Sustaining Effort
- Flexible & Adaptive Thinking
At PossAbilities we address Executive Functioning in the following ways:
- Assess through the process of clinical observations and formal testing, obstacles that interfere with the development of executive functioning skills. Parent and child interviews help us to understand the individual sensory processing needs and gain an understanding of the child’s best learning path.
- Teach individuals and family members activity analysis: a fundamental process of occupational therapy for problem solving.
- Develop gross and fine motor skills, visual-motor and visual perceptual skills to allow for a solid foundation on which to build executive functioning processes. You will find us using all of our therapeutic environments including the kitchen, garden and gym.
- Examples include: In the kitchen, using a picture recipe to make a snack mix. Fine motor skills are required to use of scissors to cut open a package of nuts or cereal. Bilateral coordination is necessary for pouring into a measuring cup and washing dishes at the sink.
- In the therapy garden – Planting and preparing a pot or garden bed is a muli-step process that requires mentally moving objects (tools, buckets, water hose, etc.) in space and time also known as temporal spatial skills. Proper ergonomics are required as we learn to lift and move our bodies to build strength and protect our joints.
- In the gym – planning and implementing an obstacle course.
- Assist in helping a child achieve and maintain a “just right” state of self-regulation and additional tools for self-monitoring. We use programs such as Zones of Regulation, Social Thinking and The Alert Program.
- Improve praxis (motor planning) through sensory processing therapy. Praxis includes knowing what to do as well as how to do it and is fundamental for skills such as getting dressed, learning to write, or playing. (Task Initiation, Working Memory, Time Management)
- Develop postural core stability that can contribute to the ability to sustain attention and effort for a task.
- Facilitate use of strategies for organization. Design individual systems that best fit the child’s unique strengths. Examples include: backpack tags, desktop checklists and visual schedules.
- Model transitions and flexible thinking within therapy sessions.
- Practice use of executive functioning skills in both individual and small group settings.
- Some examples are working on a multi-step project such as a wall mural, simple meal preparation in the kitchen or planning a service project to honor the firemen and police officers in our nearby neighborhood.
- Another example is our C.R.E.A.T.e (Collaborating and Relating as we Explore Art and the Art of living and working Together in a group setting) therapy groups.
A parent workshop on executive functioning will be in January. Remember to check our website for more details!