Instructional strategies

At a Glance: Classroom Accommodations for Executive Functioning Issues

By Amanda Morin

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Executive functioning issues can make learning difficult. Kids may have trouble planning, managing time and organizing. Fortunately, there are classroom accommodations that can help them stay on top of their work.

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Classroom Accommodations to Help Students With Executive Functioning Issues

What can help students with executive functioning issues? Here are some common accommodations teachers can make to pave the way to learning.

For Teaching
• Give step-by-step instructions and have the student repeat them back.
• Give the student an outline of the lesson.
• Say to the student, “This is important to know because…”
• Have a daily routine that doesn’t change.
• Give a short review before teaching new skills.
• Check in frequently to make sure the student understands the work.

For the Classroom
• Post schedules and directions, and make sure the student sees them.
• Say directions, assignments and schedules out loud.
• Make written directions very simple and concrete.
• Highlight key words and ideas on worksheets.
• Give the student colored strips to place under sentences when reading.

For Organization and Time Management
• Keep a daily to-do list on the desk so the student can check off assignments.
• Create an assignment notebook for teacher and parents to check.
• Provide an extra set of books for the student to keep at home.
• Keep folders and baskets of supplies available.
• Break down big projects into smaller pieces with more deadlines.
• Create checklists of steps for complex assignments.

For Work and Test-Taking
• Provide a rubric that describes what a successful assignment contains.
• Allow different ways to answer questions, such as circling or saying them.
• Give the student the test format ahead of time so he can focus on content.
• Grade based on work completed, not points off for work not completed.
• Use computer speech-to-text software for writing.
• Use organizers and mind-mapping software.

Graphic of Classroom accommodations to help students with executive functioning issues
Graphic of Classroom accommodations to help students with executive functioning issues

About the Author

Portrait of Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin is a parent advocate, a former teacher and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Kylah Torre

Kylah Torre is an instructor in the department of special education at Hunter College.

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