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Executive Functioning and Skills For Success

By Dr. Michael McManmon, Founder College Internship Program (CIP)

Many families are unsure about what the future holds for their children on the autism spectrum. Most of these young people will need comprehensive support as they transition to adulthood. Programs like CIP offer key services for this population and assists young adults while they learn to master important executive functioning skills. Executive functioning is a term for a group of cognitive processes such as prioritizing, flexibility and the ability to switch between tasks.

The following are several key executive functioning areas where students on the spectrum typically need support as they transition to adulthood:

    • Flexibility: Revise and move forward in the face of obstacles or setbacks and adapt to changing conditions.
    • Social Skills: Learn the nuances of social interaction by gaining key communication skills through modeling, social mentoring and step by step instruction.
    • Planning and Prioritization: Develop individualized "road maps" and learn how to navigate and complete specific tasks and reach individual goals.
    • Organization: Become proficient in arranging schedules, goals and objectives according to a system that is appropriate for individual needs.
    • Working Memory: The process of holding information in one's memory while performing a variety of tasks. This includes the ability to draw upon past experiences and apply them to current situations.
    • Metacognition: The ability to look back and gain a perspective about oneself, including the ability to self monitor and self evaluate.
    • Time Management: Estimating how much time is needed to complete a task, and how to stay within time limits and deadlines.
    • Task Initiation: Learn to start projects without unnecessary procrastination
    • Goal Directed Persistence: Set goals and follow through to completion without being distracted by competing interests.

    About the Author: Michael P. McManmon, EdD – Dr. McManmon is the founder of the College Internship Program (CIP), which serves college-aged students with learning differences and Asperger’s Syndrome in six centers across the US. He is an advisory board member of US Autism & Asperger Association, Asperger Syndrome Training and Employment Partnership (ASTEP), and a member of Autism Society, National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC), Asperger’s Association of New England (AANE) and the Learning Disabilities Association. Dr. McManmon was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at 51 years of age. His personal struggles and ensuing victories and those of his students and staff have inspired this book. He resides in Lanesboro, Massachusetts.


Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.
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