Building Strong Executive Functioning Skills: Practical Tips for SENCOs

by | Nov 7, 2023

Hello again, my fellow SENCO superheroes! I hope you’ve had your fill of tea because we’re about to embark on another adventure into the realm of executive functioning. This time around, we’re not just exploring – we’re building!

The Foundation: Structured Routines

Let’s start with the basics. A structured routine can be a lifesaver for students struggling with executive functioning skills. It provides predictability and reduces anxiety associated with unexpected changes or tasks.

So how do you create one?

Start by breaking down larger tasks into smaller, manageable steps and establish a consistent order for completing them each day. And remember – patience is key! Rome wasn’t built in a day (or so they tell me), and neither are effective routines.

The Walls: Visual Aids

Next up are visual aids – our trusty sidekicks in this journey! These can range from charts showing daily schedules to colour-coded folders for different subjects or even step-by-step instructions on sticky notes.

The beauty of visual aids is that they provide clear guidance without being overly intrusive – kind of like those satnavs that only speak when there’s an actual turn coming up rather than chattering away non-stop!

The Roof: Teaching Self-Regulation Techniques

Now onto the roof which protects everything else – self-regulation techniques. These include mindfulness exercises like deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation; cognitive strategies such as positive self-talk; and behavioural strategies like using timers to manage work periods effectively.

Remember though, teaching these techniques isn’t about expecting instant mastery (we’re educators not magicians after all!). Instead, it’s about providing tools that students can practice using over time until they become second nature.

And voila! You have yourself a sturdy structure supporting strong executive functioning skills among your students!
But before I sign off let me leave you with one last tip: Don’t forget to celebrate progress, no matter how small. Building skills is a journey and every step forward deserves recognition.

So there you have it – practical tips for building strong executive functioning skills among your students. Now go forth and build! After all, we’re SENCOs – if we can’t do it, who can?

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