Executive Function Basics for SLPs

Executive Function Basics for SLPs

In this episode, I talk about executive function basics for SLPs. I mostly focus on covering what executive function skills actually are and what we use them for. I also spend some time discussing how they connect to language skills and how SLPs can support executive function skills with their students and clients.

It is important we, as SLPs, understand executive function skills and how they underpin self-regulation. Executive function skills are described as the brain’s “air traffic control center.” I will briefly describe the nine key skills and how each function is interconnected and collectively enable individuals to successfully navigate life’s complexities.

Executive dysfunction often accompanies primary diagnoses like autism, ADHD, brain injuries, dyslexia, mental health disorders, and sensory disorders. These skills and language development mutually influence each other. For example, internal language aids self-regulation, thus, students with language-based disabilities face a dual challenge – underlying executive dysfunction and the inability to use internal language to bolster executive function skills.

SLPs can help these students by making their thought process visible, promoting metacognition, and fostering a learning environment where failures are treated as opportunities for growth. SLPs also play crucial roles in advocacy and education about executive dysfunction, teaching self-advocacy to students, and supporting them in learning to use tools and accommodations. This holistic approach enables SLPs to effectively support students with executive dysfunction and help them in developing their executive function skills.

Want to stay in the loop for new speech therapy ideas and inspirations? I have put together a free Digital SLP podcast to share insight and tips on implementing your speech therapy sessions. If you are looking for fun and interactive speech therapy materials that students and SLPs both will love, check out what the Digital SLP® membership site has to offer, or sign up for our free trial now. Alternatively, check out our TpT store.

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