Flexibility is generally considered to be the behavior of switching between tasks and demands in response to changes in the environment. In essence, it’s one’s ability to change one’s behavior to different contexts or stimuli in the world.

Students who experience difficulty with cognitive flexibility often have trouble adapting to new or unexpected tasks or situations. 

What Signs Indicate A Student Is Having Difficulty? 

  • Struggling to see other students’ point of view 
  • Taking extended time to transition or to adapt to changes in schedule or activities
  • Repeating the same answer or question, despite being told it’s incorrect or asked to move on
  • Having trouble finding alternative strategies in environments or while completing tasks
  • Becoming angered or hostile because of having to make a transition 

“What Are Some Goals I Create For Students With Flexibility Difficulties?”

Below are some sample goals school psychologists can create for students who struggle with flexibility. 

The student will: 

  • Demonstrate flexibility by adjusting quickly and calmly when confronted with the unexpected (e.g. changes in plans or routines, disappointment, being told no).
  • Handle transitions between settings and activities without observable distress or disruptive behavior.
  • Create an alternative plan or solution when the first strategy doesn’t work.
  • Complete open-ended tasks successfully according to the rubric assigned.

For more information on understanding flexibility, check out our Flexibility document by clicking the button below.


Branstetter, R. (2014). The everything parent’s guide to children with executive functioning disorder. F+W Media, Inc.

Dawson, P. & Guare, R. (2018). Executive skills in children and adolescents: A practical guide to assessment and intervention (3rd ed.). The Guilford Publications Inc.