Strengthen Executive Function Skills to Decrease Negative Behaviors and Build Positive Behaviors
Many individuals struggle in academic and social settings due to executive function (EF) challenges — the ability to switch between topics and activities, initiate action, cope with change, make choices, plan and organize, manage time, inhibit impulses, regulate emotions, and solve problems. Often these individuals are seen as unmotivated or behaviorally challenged. It may seem as though an individual could meet expectations if he wanted to, but doesn’t do so because he simply won’t. However, the reality is that he lacks the skills to do what is expected and, therefore, cannot meet expectations without support.
Although many educators and professionals associate EF challenges with students on the autism spectrum, the reality is that many young people struggle with executive functioning. In fact, it is accurate to say that all young people are learning executive functioning as these skills are not fully developed until people are well into their twenties.
Fortunately, there are numerous evidence-based practices that can be incorporated into preschool through high school classrooms, home, community, and work routines that develop EF skills and provide a foundation for building positive behavior that supports individuals in all environments. Furthermore, individuals with EF challenges can be taught to use the strategies independently, leading to self-regulation and sustainable improvements.
This conference is designed for teachers, educational assistants, parents, related service providers, and other professionals who work with and support children and adolescents with executive function challenges. Using lecture, demonstration, discussion, and video clips, the presenter will introduce participants to a variety of strategies that can be used immediately by parents, educators, professionals, and individuals with autism themselves to achieve greater levels of success. Many of these strategies, which can be used to support students in special and general education classrooms, are also effective for individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, emotional disturbance, social/communication challenges, intellectual disability, specific learning disability, and traumatic brain injury.
Carol Burmeister, M.A., has a life-long passion for supporting individuals with special needs, their families, and the schools and community settings that serve them. Her professional experience includes serving as a paraeducator, general education teacher, special educator, program specialist, university instructor, and consultant across a variety of educational settings. Burmeister has presented extensively on autism and related disorders as well as served as part of the University of California, Riverside committee that developed and implemented a certificate program for teachers of students with autism. She currently serves on the board of the Autism Society of the Inland Empire.
Armed with the knowledge that evidence-based interventions for children and youth with ASD are the basis on which effective educational programs are built, Burmeister served as a reviewer of the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder’s update on evidence-based practices. For the past several years, her work has focused on the crucial topic of executive function (EF), helping parents as well as educational professionals understand the complexity of social, academic, and behavioral challenges that accompany executive function deficits and practical tools that support EF across all environments. Burmeister has presented at regional, national, and international conferences and has authored several articles on this topic. In addition, she is co-author, with Dr. Sheri Wilkins, of the book, FLIPP the Switch: Strengthen Executive Function Skills.