Children who struggle with executive functioning deficits may have difficulties learning how to initiate and plan motor skills. Here are 3 strategies to help initiate and plan when learning a new motor skill:
- Work with children to establish the end goal. By asking open ended or more direct questions to the child, determine specifically what the end goal is for him or her. Pictured above is just an example of how to guide the student perhaps they want to learn how to catch a ball in gym class? Climb the playground equipment? Write faster? Learn self calming techniques? Maintain personal space? Complete assignments quicker? By establishing a specific end goal, children will understand the clear intent of why they are learning the skill which will hopefully drive intrinsic motivation.
- Break down the goal into a series of steps. Help the child to determine what steps need to be taken to achieve the goal ie practice sessions, modifications, etc. Let the student help map out how to break up the skill. Try using this four square idea to get started. Ask questions to help prompt the child if necessary but do not just provide the solution to the problem. If the student is able, write down a timeline of when each part will be completed. For example, if the student is learning how to climb stairs in a crowded stairwell, then the timeline could include activities such as climb the stairs independently with visual distractions in the stairwell, climb the stairs independently with one other student in the stairwell and finally climbing the stairs with many students in the stairwell. Set dates for each skill to be accomplished. If the student is tackling a big academic project, encourage him/her to set specific dates with specific directions for each part of the project.
- Stop, reflect and review. When you are moving through each “piece” of the overall goal stop, reflect and review. To encourage staying on task, the student can self talk asking “is what I am working on now going to help me achieve the goal?”. Review and check if the student is able to repeat what was previously learned and show 100% achievement of that “piece”? Ask the student if they need to change the timeline or any strategies that are being used. Encourage the student to reflect on what, if anything, could be done to improve it to do it better the next time?
My Goal Tracker: This is an electronic book of data collection forms for students to track their own progress. The student can track his/her goals over time, by monitoring the skills over the course of a day, week, month or quarter. This allows the student to get a visual picture of improvement, decline or maintenance of different skills.
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