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The Executive Functioning Skill of Planning

by | Feb 28, 2023 | Executive Functioning | 0 comments

The Executive Functioning Skill of Planning

Have you ever worked with a student who struggles to make decisions about what part of a task is important to focus on and what part isn’t? Or what about students who struggle to create mental roadmaps in their mind when trying to reach a goal or complete a task? More than likely, these students struggle with the ability to plan. What can school psychologists do to best help students who struggle with the inability to plan a task? Let’s talk more about the executive functioning skill known as planning and how school psychs can set students up for success!

Planning in the Classroom

When students display weaknesses in their ability to plan, they may have difficulty knowing how to start a homework assignment or a large project. School psychologists may work with students who cannot remember multi-step directions or who forget to bring the necessary materials home to complete assignments. Have you ever assessed a student with these difficulties? What suggestions would you give the IEP team to help the student strengthen their ability to plan? What if you were to consult with a teacher about a student with executive functioning weaknesses in the area of planning, what strategies would you suggest?

How the School Psych Can Help

How the School Psych Can Help

Are there effective strategies that can be implemented to help the student be more successful in school? Did you know that using role play can be an effective tool when teaching students how to plan? Using contracts for periodic work completion and setting sub-goals with reasonable expectations are quick, practical ways to boost a student’s planning skills. Are there other strategies school psychologists can share with teachers during consultation? What other evidence-based strategies can the school psych offer during an IEP when accommodations are being discussed? What are some sample IEP goals that are geared specifically toward planning?

Are you interested in learning more about what planning is and how weak planning skillls present in the classroom setting? Check out our Planning document below by clicking on the link.

And did you know that inside our Prepared School Psych community, we have additional information on this topic including suggestions for teachers at the elementary and secondary levels plus a template to use for parent newsletters? We have these resources for many more executive skills as well. Check us out if you are not already a member of our community at www.jennyponzuric.com today.


Matheis, L. (2021). How to help children with working memory deficits. https://www.additudemag.com/how-to-help-children-with-working-memory-deficits/
Dawson, P. & Guare, R. (2018). Executive skills in children and adolescents: A practical guide to assessment and intervention (3rd ed.). The Guilford Publications Inc.
Dawson, P., Guare, R., & Guare, C. (2013). Smart but scattered teens. The Guilford Publications Inc.

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