Flexible and Focused

Flexible and Focused

Teaching Executive Function Skills to Individuals with Autism and Attention Disorders

1st Edition - December 28, 2016

Write a review

  • Author: Adel Najdowski
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128098349
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128098332

Purchase options

Purchase options
DRM-free (Mobi, PDF, EPub)
Sales tax will be calculated at check-out

Institutional Subscription

Free Global Shipping
No minimum order


Flexible and Focused: Teaching Executive Function Skills to Individuals with Autism and Attention Disorders is a manual written for individuals who work with learners who struggle with executive function deficits. The manual takes the perspective that executive function skills can be improved through effective intervention, just like any other skills. This how-to manual provides practical strategies for teaching learners to be focused, organized, flexible, and able to effectively manage themselves. Ready-to-use lessons, data sheets, worksheets, and other tools for practitioners, educators, and parents are provided to help them tackle common problems associated with executive function deficits in learners of any diagnosis, ages 5 to adult. The principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA), which form the foundation of this manual, are translated into simple, easy-to-use procedures. Lessons for improving executive function skills in real-life everyday situations are provided in the following areas: Self-awareness Inhibition and impulse control Self-management Attention Organization Problem solving Time management Planning Working memory Emotional self-regulation Flexibility

Key Features

  • Provides an overview of what constitutes executive function skills
  • Outlines how techniques based on applied behavior analysis can be used to teach skills
  • Presents step-by-step lessons for practitioners, educators, and parents to implement with individuals with executive function deficits
  • Includes data sheets, task analyses, worksheets, and visual aids


Practitioners, educators, and parents

Table of Contents

    • Series Foreword: Critical Specialities in Treating Autism and Other Behavioral Challenges
      • Purpose
    • Chapter 1. Introduction
      • Abstract
      • 1.1 How Can This Manual Help?
      • 1.2 Who Can Use This Manual?
      • 1.3 What Type of Learners Will Benefit From This Manual?
      • 1.4 A Consideration for Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs)
      • 1.5 Format of This Manual
    • Chapter 2. Principles Behind the Lessons
      • Abstract
      • 2.1 Positive Reinforcement
      • 2.2 Prompting and Prompt Fading
      • 2.3 Chaining
      • 2.4 Generalization
      • 2.5 Maintenance
      • 2.6 Data Collection and Graphing
    • Chapter 3. Self-Awareness, Inhibition, and Self-Management
      • Abstract
      • 3.1 Self-Awareness
      • 3.2 Self-Management
    • Chapter 4. Attention
      • Abstract
      • 4.1 Morning and Evening Routines
      • 4.2 Homework Routine
      • 4.3 Sustained Attention
    • Chapter 5. Organization
      • Abstract
      • 5.1 Cleaning Bedroom
      • 5.2 Organizing Homework and School Supplies
      • 5.3 Organizing Personal Spaces
    • Chapter 6. Problem Solving, Time Management, and Planning
      • Abstract
      • 6.1 Problem Solving
      • 6.2 Problem Solving Lesson
      • 6.3 Time Management
      • 6.4 Time Management Lesson
      • 6.5 Planning
      • 6.6 Using a Planner/Device for Planning
      • 6.7 Planning: Short- and Long-Term Goals
      • 6.8 Planning: Social Plans and Social Media
    • Chapter 7. Working Memory
      • Abstract
      • 7.1 Studying Skills
      • 7.2 Remembering to Turn In Homework
      • 7.3 Keeping Track of Personal Items
    • Chapter 8. Emotional Self-Regulation and Flexibility
      • Abstract
      • 8.1 Emotional Self-Regulation
      • 8.2 Flexibility
      • 8.3 Flexibility Lesson
    • Chapter 9. Troubleshooting
      • Abstract
      • 9.1 Antecedent Manipulations
      • 9.2 Reinforcement Procedures
      • 9.3 Sufficient Learning Opportunities
      • 9.4 Component Skills and Prerequisite Skills
      • 9.5 Attention Deficits
      • 9.6 Apps
      • 9.7 Make It Fun
    • Appendix A
      • Additional Resources
    • References
    • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 120
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2017
  • Published: December 28, 2016
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128098349
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128098332

About the Author

Adel Najdowski

Adel C. Najdowski, PhD, BCBA-D (she/her/hers), is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program at Pepperdine University as well as Research Manager at Halo Behavioral Health. Dr. Najdowski has provided ABA-based services to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and developmental disabilities since 1995. She has more than 45 publications, including her books Flexible and Focused: Teaching Executive Function Skills to Individuals With Autism and Attention Disorders and A Workbook of Ethical Case Scenarios in Applied Behavior Analysis. She currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and has previously served for Behavior Analysis in Practice and as Guest Editor for a special issue in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) and previously served on the board of directors for the California Association for Behavior Analysis (CalABA). She is also on the disciplinary review committee (DRC) for the BACB. Her current research interests include topics related to social justice teaching higher-order skills to children, teens, and adults diagnosed with ASD. She is a frequent speaker at conferences and on podcasts and web-based shows.

Affiliations and Expertise

Pepperdine University, Department of Psychology, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Ratings and Reviews

Write a review

Latest reviews

(Total rating for all reviews)

  • Miguel F. Sat Jan 15 2022

    Great Resource

    This book definitely comes with all of the right info.

  • Victoria P. Mon May 14 2018

    Flexible and Focused

    Excellent resource - very user friendly with helpful strategies.

  • Celia H. Thu Dec 28 2017

    Flexible and Focused

    Awesome! It’s in my work bag all the time!