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Executive Functions Training Adolescent
Ages: 12-Adult   Grades: 7-Adult         

Teach clients to use controlled thinking and actions with this expansive, evidence-based program developed and used extensively in clinical practice.  Complex executive function skills are taught as discrete sub skills so clients can succeed at every step. 


  • Establish learning behaviors that create success in the classroom and on the job
  • Self-regulate thinking and self-organize behavior
  • Use proactive thinking and problem-solving
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** This is a Cloud E-Book that is accessible from any device with Internet access. .

Executive function is the ability to self-regulate thoughts and organize behavior.  This program has a unique organization and instruction method specifically designed for individuals with executive function disorders.  Each task is mastered before moving to the next.  The program features a huge amount of purposeful practice activities that are easily adjustable to individual needs.  The teaching techniques consist of :

  • step-by-step, explicit instructions for students and clinicians
  • early establishment of self-monitoring skills
  • hefty amounts of repetitive practice to achieve skill mastery 
  • habituating the use of intentional questions (e.g., "What am I learning?, How will I do this?, Am I using the skills?")
  • loads of learning strategies
  • guided reflections to direct discussion and awareness of skills and progress
  • student-initiated progress logs
  • frequent reminders of the goal, the strategy, and the outcome of the activity

The eight skill areas are in developmental order.  Each unit/skill area builds on skills introduced in the previous units:

Use audible and then silent self-talk to state goals, strategies, and self-evaluations.  Develop the ability to focus on the task at hand. 

Slightly more complex than those in the Self-Talk unit, these activities train the student to use self-talk to monitor himself and to verify completion of a plan of action.

Students learn to pause and make plans so they can complete a task.  Students begin with familiar activities, easing into the new cognitive demands.  Then new activities are introduced. 

Setting Goals & Self-Evaluating
Students learn to set goals, work hard to accomplish them, and determine if the goals were achieved.  

Attention Awareness
Strengthen the abilities to concentrate and focus attention so information processing is more efficient.  Increase awareness of the different demands on attention and how that affects performance.    

Listening Awareness
Build awareness of listening ability and listening comprehension and improve functional listening abilities.  Attend to inflection, rate, stress, and pauses. 

Students organize their time, their things, and their actions to aid in planning and completing tasks.   

Learn to start tasks independently and maintain things that are important. 

Each unit/skill area in the program has multiple types of cognitive exercises at three levels of increasing independence and complexity.  Students move from thinking, planning, and practicing out loud to using the new skills silently, without cues.  Each unit/skill area progresses as follows:

  • Level 1 Guided Reflection "Getting Ready"
  • Level 1 Exercises
  • Level 2 Guided Reflection "Making It Mine"
  • Level 2 Exercises
  • Level 3 Guided Reflection "On My Own"
  • Level 3 Exercises
  • Mastery Level Guided Reflection "I Own It"

The cognitive exercises and guided reflections are on a FREE CD that comes with the book.  The CD contains an additional 357 printable pages of therapy materials in PDF format.  These student activity pages consist of:

  • four levels of guided reflections for each skill area (32 pages total)
  • worksheet exercises at three levels of difficulty for each skill area (288 pages total)
  • self-monitoring charts (8 total)
  • answer keys

Copyright © 2011 

138-page book plus a CD of an additional 357 printable pages in PDF format (printable exercises, guided reflections, self-monitoring charts, progess logs, answer key)

  • Executive function intervention (including specific tasks to improve student awareness of attention, goal-setting, and organizational tasks) is vital for children and adolescents with language-learning disorders as these skills are needed for academic and social success (Singer & Bashir, 1999).
  • Parents of children with executive function disorders report concerns regarding future employability, independent living skills, financial literacy, and effective social communication skills.  All of these skills are intertwined with both executive function and language therapy that SLPs can address in therapy sessions (Turkstra & Byom, 2010).
  • Self-talk is the primary strategy for self-regulation.  Thus, many children with language-learning disorders struggle with this skill and need to be explicitly taught self-talk in therapy (Howland, 2010).
  • The most effective executive function intervention tasks will easily assist the student in improving his academic strategies across a variety of subject areas.  Tasks that show the student how improvement in attention or organization will help him in a variety of home and school tasks will be intrinsically motivating to the student (Singer & Bashir, 1999).

Executive Functions Training Adolescent incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


Howland, K. (2010, November). Strategies to develop executive control skills in language-impaired children. Paper presented at the American Speech-Language-Hearing (ASHA) Annual Convention, Philadelphia, PA.

Singer, B.D., & Bashir, A. (1999). What are executive functions and self-regulation and what do they have to do with language learning disorders? Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 30, 165-273.

Turkstra, L.S., & Byom, L.J. (2010, December 21). Executive functions and communication in adolescents. Available from


Lynn A. Drazinski


Lynn A. Drazinski, M.A., CCC-SLP, is a faculty member in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri.  She teaches courses in cognitive-communication disorders, anatomy and physiology, neural bases of communication disorders, and traumatic brain injury.  She is a certified brain injury specialist.  Lynn has worked in private practice, neurorehabilitation, and schools.  Her three young adult children have provided her with ample opportunity to observe the development of executive functions.

Executive Functions Training Adolescent is Lynn's first publication with LinguiSystems.


Executive function skills have long been recognized as being critical for adults in the workplace, in higher education, and for overall success in achieving life goals.  Professionals now recognize that these skills follow a developmental continuum throughout childhood and adolescence.  We have come to understand the benefit of addressing the skills related to goal setting, self-monitoring, and self-evaluation in treatment and education programs (Singer & Bashir, 1999).

While these skills emerge in childhood, they develop during the preadolescent and adolescent years, and the demand for these developing skills is evident in the academic setting.  It is at this age, from about 11to 16 years old, that cognition has developed adequately to allow children to exercise the metacognitive skills required for implementing executive functions.

Executive functions encompass a large set of skills, and it is difficult to know where to begin when addressing them in a treatment program.  These are dynamic skills that evolve over time, and the wide range of skills within the skill set merge with one another as they develop.  Executive Functions Training Adolescent addresses the primary skills of Self-Talk, Self-Monitoring, Planning, and Setting Goals and Self-Evaluating.  These skills provide a framework for learning the secondary skills of Attention Awareness, Listening Awareness, Organization, and Initiation.

Executive Functions Training Adolescent is a step-by-step, explicit and comprehensive approach to teaching executive functions.  It employs strategy-based instruction combined with direct instruction techniques—an approach that is effective in cognitive treatment (Sohlberg, Ehlhardt, & Kennedy, 2005).  The explicit nature of addressing the target skill is well-suited for students with language-learning deficits or brain injuries, but it could be appropriate for other students who are experiencing difficulty in the academic and social realms of their lives.  And, even though Executive Functions Training Adolescent is intended for the preadolescent and adolescent populations, it can easily be adapted for adults.

In its entirety, Executive Functions Training Adolescent should be considered a long-term plan; however, the units are arranged in a progression of skill acquisition which will allow you to effectively write short-term goals.  Multiple exercises at increasing levels of independence or complexity are provided, allowing ample opportunity for the student to practice and review the skills.  The student should solidify his use of the skill in each unit before he advances to the next unit.

Metacognition is an important aspect of executive functions.  The discrete skill addressed in each unit should be the subject of discussion before, during, and after the student completes the exercises.  It is critical that the student can discuss the skill at-hand and participate in determining whether he has acquired that skill at the end of each unit.  Your student will have explicit knowledge of the skills he possesses as he progresses toward self-reliance for academic, social, and workplace success.



Singer, B.D., & Bashir, A. (1999). What are executive functions and self-regulation and what do they have to do with language learning disorders? Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 30, 165-273.

Sohlberg, M.M., Ehlhardt, L., & Kennedy, M. (2005). Instructional techniques in cognitive rehabilitation: A preliminary report. Seminars in Speech and Language, 26, 268-279.