Detailed Description & Outcomes

Executive Dysfunction

Day One: Overview, Early Warning Signs, Expectations, July 26

Participants will examine how the changing demands of middle school can ignite difficulties in performance for students, learn how to recognize the early warning signs that executive function skills are delayed, and examine the value of a Response to Instruction (RTI) system to identify school wide executive function needs before formulating general executive function expectations.


The morning session will be dedicated to the general understanding of executive function, including warning signs, and potential supports through the RTI process. The afternoon will be focused on guided group work where attendees may connect with other teachers from their grade level.


In the afternoon, participants will work in groups, using a structured template, to identify executive function expectations for their students in the areas of attention, organization, task persistence, self-monitoring, working memory, planning/strategizing, time management, set shifting, sequencing, and task initiation. Armed with these expectations, participants will be able to move the next step of closely examining the needs of their students and incorporating strategies to support instruction.


OUTCOMES: As a result of participating in this day, attendees will:

  • Examine the skills that allows students access to the instruction that results in successful performance with these standards;
  • Understand how the changing demands of middle school can ignite difficulties in academic performance;
  • Understand and articulate the value of the RTI process in supporting students with executive dysfunction challenges
  • Identify the skills involved with the metacognitive strand of executive function
  • Identify and interpret warning signs of executive dysfunction
  • Formulate connections between the changing demands of middle school and characteristics of executive dysfunction
  • Develop grade level executive function expectations

Day 2: Improve Access to Core Instruction with Embedded Proactive Strategies, July 27

Help students gain access to classroom instruction with the proactive insertion of strategies that support executive function weaknesses. Participants will receive comprehensive strategies for areas including nightly homework, assessments, writing, organization, study strategies, agenda use, long-term projects, giving directions, and organizing the physical environment. Discussion on these differentiation strategies and examination of possible roadblocks to their use will lead participants to the creation of a Personal Plan for Change. This plan will outline both immediate and future changes for instruction intended to create greater access to learning for students with executive function.


Significant time during this day is devoted to the presentation of strategies, but there will be periodic group conversations on potential roadblocks for their use. During the strategy instruction of the presentation, emphasis will be placed on the power that teachers hold in differentiating to allow access for all students to the instruction. In the late afternoon, participants will work to create a Personal Plan for Change that outlines chosen strategies to be proactively embedded in their instruction to support students with executive dysfunction. In creating their plan, examination of immediate student needs will be the initial focus, followed by the matching of those needs to strategies, and finally identifying potential roadblocks to the successful use of the strategies. So often, teachers are enthusiastic and motivated from a conference, but once back in the classroom, feel too overwhelmed to make a plan for intended change.


OUTCOMES: As a result of participating in this day, attendees will:

  • Recognize that variations in the delivery of instruction may be igniting frustration, unmotivated behavior, lack of effort, and even failure for students with executive dysfunction
  • Identify proactive strategies that allow executive function students greater access to instruction
  • Critique strategies and predicting potential roadblocks with the use of the strategies
  • Construct a Personal Plan for Change that outlines both immediate and future strategies to be embedded in their instruction to provide added support to students with executive dysfunction.

Day 3: Metacognition, Writing Measurable Goals, Data Collection, July 28

Writing measurable goals for students with executive function needs can be a challenging task. Goals need to reflect the student’s needs and be aligned with their present level of development. Participants will work with identifying specific target skills from the metacognitive strand, establishing baselines for goal writing, writing measurable goals, and collecting data. The executive function areas of executive attention, organization, task initiation, working memory, task completion, prioritizing, planning, and sequencing will be incorporated in the goal writing.


With focus just on the metacognitive strand of executive function, the early morning hours will be devoted to structuring measurable executive function goals and the collection of data for progress monitoring. After the instruction, teachers will work in small guided groups, stopping at stages to share goal samples and posing questions or concerns with their group’s work. At the completion of the day, participants will leave with a sample bank of executive function goals that may be refined or adjusted to meet their individual school needs.


OUTCOMES: As a result of participating in this day, attendees will:

  • Identify specific target skills of executive function for IEP development or IEP goal setting
  • Recognize the importance of establishing an accurate baseline for executive function goal writing
  • Develop a method for establishing a baseline
  • Formulate and critique executive function goals
  • Design data collection sheets that allow for clear and consistent monitoring of progress
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