• Academic Support
Helping Students with Challenges in Executive Functioning

Executive functions are those skills that allow us to set goals, plan, and accomplish tasks. Our executive functioning system is ultimately the “CEO” or “Air Traffic Control System” of the brain. Those students with challenges in executive functioning may struggle with working memory, flexible thinking, attention, and/or self-control. A few ways to support students struggling with executive functioning include:

  1. Provide step-by-step instructions and request students repeat back the instructions to check for understanding and to provide further clarification.
  2. Give the student an outline of the lesson.
  3. Provide students with guided notes.
  4. You may want to say to students: “This is important to know because…”
  5. Provide a short review before teaching new skills.
  6. Check in frequently to ensure the student understands the work.
  7. State as well as write out directions for assignments and schedules.
  8. Make written directions very simple and concrete.
  9. Highlight key words and ideas on worksheets.
  10. Recommend that students use colored strips or bookmarks to place under sentences while reading.
  11. Break down big projects into smaller pieces with more deadlines.
  12. Create checklists of steps for complex assignments.
  13. Encourage students to use organizers and mind-mapping software.
  14. Remind students to make information external with cards, signs, sticky notes, lists, journals and apps.

Academic Support

By Tara McFalls, M.Ed., Director of Learning, Perkiomen School

Tara McFalls earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Philosophy and then began working in the field of neuroscience research. Although she loved the research and potential implications of rigorous scientific examination, she yearned for a classroom setting. She earned a master’s degree in Education and worked in higher education at Cabrini University for 14 years before coming to Perkiomen School.  

My overarching goal as the Director of Learning is to aid each student in cultivating a
growth mindset or the ability to understand how their consistent effort and perseverance leads to deeper
learning and achievement. Tara McFalls, M.Ed., Director of Learning, Perkiomen School