Saturday, August 4, 2012

Working on Executive Function

Like many kids with autism, Kai has trouble with executive function. Executive function is what allows people to perform activities such as planning, organizing, strategizing, and managing time and space.

Kai’s speech therapist extraordinaire, Alyson, is working with him on this.

Kai usually loves to see Alyson. Who wouldn’t? She is enthusiastic, smart, has lots of energy, and makes the sessions fun for Kai.

And if that weren’t enough, she has a large supply of snacks to choose from. When Kai is in irritable mood, the opportunity to choose a snack he can’t get at home is usually enough to make him less of a grump.

At his latest session, Alyson used Kai’s desire to get a snack to work with him on executive function.

She developed a template that helps the child to organize their thoughts and plans. The template has three parts: Get Ready, Do, and Done. The entire activity is planned out step by step. For now, she helps Kai by prompting him to identify the next step, and then by writing down his comment. When the planning is done, they do the activity, following along the plan that was developed.

In her latest session, they made a school of fish out of dried apricots, pretzels, frosting, and chocolate chips.

Here is the plan that Alyson helped Kai develop:

And here is the result:

Neat, huh? I think that would motivate me to learn how to plan as well!


  1. I love it
    EF is certainly a big one for our kiddos - I am always struck by how much EF our kiddos develop when they are motivated

    1. Motivation definitely makes a big difference. Kai did this one almost all by himself because he really wanted to do it.

  2. What a great idea! Thank you for sharing it, I will have to start working on it!

    1. Geovana, I thought of you as soon as Alyson explained this to me. :)

  3. What a great breakdown of the steps. Get Ready - Do - Done...simple...efficient...effective.
    The teacher is definitely a smart one!

    1. Kai has made a lot of progress in many areas under Alyson's teachings. We are lucky to have found her.

  4. What a great breakdown of needed skills! Highly motivating and creative! She is a keeper!


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