In This Issue

Many students with executive dysfunction struggle with test anxiety. This challenge can manifest itself in both physical and psychological ways, making it seem almost impossible to take an exam. If your child struggles with test anxiety, check out these tips on what to do before and during an exam.
Facebook Posts

In order to accomplish a task, it's important to set smaller, reasonable goals along the way. Identify potential obstacles and strategies you can use to overcome them, and above all, remain positive!

Now that school is back in session, it's important to establish an after-school routine to help your child efficiently use her time. With your child, create a checklist of tasks she needs to complete when she gets home; encourage her to think about how much time she needs to complete each task so that she can budget the appropriate amount of time! 

Who doesn't remember playing Twister as a kid? Happily, this game is not only good for entertainment, but it also teaches valuable executive functioning skills! Twister is all about problem-solving as you attempt to discern the best location to place your hand or foot. It also builds social skills!  

Want more tips, games, and recommendations to help you and your child "think organized"

Social Thinking: Helping Our Kids Become Better Social Communicators

For most of us, our ability to think socially develops naturally and feels intuitive. In fact, social thinking dominates our thought processes throughout the day. Thinking socially occurs when we send an email, read a work of fiction, wait in line at Starbucks, or move our grocery cart aside to accommodate another customer. 

Quite naturally, we consider the context, surroundings, emotions, and intentions of others to determine our behavior and emotional responses. It is an incredibly complex process which most of us take for granted.

For kids with learning and attention issues, social thinking is far from natural. They might find it challenging to notice, understand, and act on emotions in an effective way. Underdeveloped social thinking skills can exacerbate challenges children are already facing. Think about your child's daily life. She might study hard, but still get a poor grade. She might feel embarrassed about her learning issues and be afraid to ask for help. 

Self-advocacy, flexible thinking, and healthy communication skills are rooted in social thinking. Teaching children about the presence of other people's minds and social thoughts is important, especially for our kids with learning and attention challenges.

So, what can we do? A great strategy for middle or high school students is the Four Steps of Perspective Taking, developed by speech-language pathologist, Michelle Garcia Winner. Winner is the founder of Social Thinking ®, an organization and educational framework which focuses on improving social skills across the lifespan. Learn more about the organization here


These four steps happen intuitively and very fast. However, through discussing them, we can help kids recognize and consider the extent to which we think about others and adjust our behavior, even nonverbally.
The four steps of any social interaction are:
  1. As soon as two people share a common space, they have a thought about each other. I have a thought about you; you have a thought about me.
  2. I consider the other person's intentions and motives. If they seem suspicious, I will monitor the person more closely. The other person will also consider my intentions and motives.
  3. Each person considers what the other may be thinking about them. Is it positive, negative, neutral? Is there history between us upon which we weigh these thoughts?
  4.  I monitor and possibly modify my behavior to keep the other person thinking about me the way I want them to think about me. They are doing the same for me. 


To help your child better understand perspective taking, you can actively lead discussions around these four steps. Talk about the steps and give personal examples to explain how these steps play out in real life. You might discuss something you saw in a movie or read in a book and comment on the characters' perspectives, reactions, or emotions. 

Videos without words are also a great place to start ("For The Birds" is a good choice). Watch the video and talk about nonverbal language. 
  • What were the reactions, perspectives, and emotions of the birds? 
  • How did you know that without language? 
These conversations can raise awareness to a skill set that might feel foreign to your child.

Social thinking is critical to success in relationships, at school, and at work. Open these discussions and talk with your speech-language pathologist/academic mentor about how you can incorporate these skills into conversations at home.