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Flexible and Focused - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128098332, 9780128098349

Flexible and Focused

1st Edition

Teaching Executive Function Skills to Individuals with Autism and Attention Disorders

Author: Adel Najdowski
eBook ISBN: 9780128098349
Paperback ISBN: 9780128098332
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 28th December 2016
Page Count: 120
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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


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


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2017
28th December 2016
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:
Paperback ISBN:

Ratings and Reviews

About the Author

Adel Najdowski

Adel Najdowski, Ph.D., BCBA-D is an Associate Professor and Program Director of M.S. in Behavioral Psychology at Pepperdine University. Dr. Najdowski has provided ABA-based services to children with autism for 20 years. Between 2005 and 2010, she led the development of Skills®, an online curriculum for children with autism. In 2014, Dr. Najdowski co-authored, Evidence-Based Treatment for Children with Autism: The CARD Model. She has over 40 publications in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters in scientific texts, and articles in popular media. Dr. Najdowski has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Behavior Analysis in Practice and as a Guest Editor for a special issue in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Her current research interests include teaching higher-order skills to children with autism and assessment and curriculum design for children with autism.

Affiliations and Expertise

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