Empowering Students with Executive Functioning Weaknesses: By Dr. Erica Warren

One of the best ways to empower students with executive functioning challenges is to help them embrace and utilize their best ways of processing. Each person understands the world around them in a unique fashion based on his or her perceptual abilities, and when a student and those that teach them understands this, successful compensatory learning and organizational strategies can be exposed and implemented.

Are Ways of Processing Like Learning Styles?

Many have heard about learning styles. Ways of processing, however, go beyond learning and cognitive styles to also embrace an information processing and multiple intelligences model. In fact, there are 12 ways of processing, and demonstrating and accommodating all these ways of assimilating knowledge is essential to multisensory instruction as well as multi-sensory assignment options. What’s more, awareness of all these ways of processing will help prepare students to be flexible, lifelong learners.

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What are the 12 Ways of Processing and how can they be accommodated?

1. Visual Processing involves encoding and recalling information that is

  • Present images that reflect academic content.
  • Encourage these learners to view images on the Internet that previews or summarizes lessons.
  • Help these learners to develop their visualization capacity and use it for academic work.

2. Auditory Processing includes both the encoding and recollection of that is heard.

  • Make sure that these learners can hear you clearly.
  • Allow these learners to just listen.  Don’t require them to take notes, but offer them a copy of your own notes or another student’s notes.

3. Tactile Processing incorporates the encoding and retrieving of material the sense of touch.

  • Use manipulatives that the students can touch.
  • Propose note taking, as some tactile learners encode best when they write down what they hear.

4. Kinesthetic Processing involves learning and recalling information when body is in motion.

  • Encourage short, kinesthetic “brain breaks” while learning.
  • Integrate activities that involve movement into the learning process.

5. Sequential Processing includes encoding and recalling sequenced or ordered information.

  • Utilize timelines.
  • Present step by step instructions.
  • Offer outlines.

6. Simultaneous Processing incorporates the encoding and retrieving of information that is categorized, shows the “big picture,” and defines main ideas and details.

  • Summarize information.
  • Present and define main ideas and details.
  • Offer flow charts and diagrams.

7. Verbal Processing involves learning and recalling of information by processing ideas and thoughts aloud.

  • Encourage learners to process ideas verbally through discussions.
  • Urge verbal learners to repeat back instructions and to verbally plan assignments.

8. Interactive Processing includes encoding and recalling with the company of others.

  • Allow these learners to collaborate on projects or classroom assignments.
  • Help these learners to coordinate study.

9. Reflective/Logical Processing incorporates the encoding and retrieving of information by thinking about or processing information internally and making connections to prior experiences.

  • Allow learners the time to work independently and process ideas
  • Present free writing activities that share internal thoughts.

10. Indirect Experience Processing involves learning and recalling of instruction that is demonstrated.

  • Offer
  • Pair real-life anecdotes to academic content.

11. Direct Experience Processing includes encoding and recalling real-life experiences.

  • Make connections between learning in the classroom to the “real
  • Inform learners about activities available in their communities and local cities (historic sites, museums, aquariums…).
  • Go on field trips.

12. Rhythmic Melodic Processing incorporates the encoding and retrieving of material with the use of songs and rhythm.

  • Offer music that suggests a time period or
  • Associate melodies with information to be
  • Listen to and sing songs that incorporate educational material.

If you would like to view a free Prezi on this topic, CLICK HERE.

By embracing the 12 ways of processing and learning about individual profiles, students with executive functioning difficulties can learn strategies for success. If you would like to learn more on how to assess your students’ best ways of learning, CLICK HERE.  If you have any thoughts or questions, I would love to hear from you.

Dr. Erica Warren, Learning Specialist and Educational Therapist

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials. She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY. To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com and www.learningtolearn.biz.

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