Keeping Good Intentions on Track: Help for Self-Regulation & Executive Function

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CBT for Kids
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29 pages
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CBT for Kids



Do you know a child who has good intentions—but often can’t seem to follow through on them?

These children may feel bad about themselves: they notice that their peers seem to easily accomplish exactly what they set out to do. They compare themselves to their friends and they wonder: What’s wrong with me?

Our newest resource - Keeping Good Intentions on Track - is written especially for those kids.

In this book, children learn that intelligence and good intentions are not enough: we also need to draw on some special brain skills (executive functions) to be able to reliably use our intelligence in the right way and at the right time.

The heart of this book is Simon's Story. With child-friendly explanations and examples, Simon reassures kids that there are some great ways to give their EFs a “boost” so that they can stay on track with their good intentions!



Delays in Executive Function (EF) can cause frustration for children and for their parents, teachers and other caregivers.

Children with EF delays are just as “smart” as anyone else, but have difficulty applying their knowledge and skills in day-to-day performance.Consequently, no matter how smart or talented children with EF delays may be, they are not performing on an even playing field with their peers.

However, caregivers can help the child compensate for these differences by providing a longer period of externalized support (scaffolding) for EF development.

With external support in place, the child with EF delays is able to perform beyond what their actual development would allow. That is, they are able to use their innate knowledge, skills and abilities on par with their peers, without being as handicapped by the slower development of their executive functions.

This book contains two stories that demonstrate how to provide scaffolding (external support) at the point of performance: the times and places where the child is experiencing EF-related challenges.

Jon’s Story (An Intro to EF for Adults)

Executive Function (EF) delays may be associated with other conditions, such as ADHD and ASD. In this story, Jon–a child diagnosed with ADHD–learns that some of the difficulties that he is experiencing are due to problems with working memory. He then learns a strategy to provide himself with the scaffolding that he needs: the use of a tool called a wrist list. Whereas previously Jon needed almost constant scaffolding from his mother to support his poor working memory, the wrist list externalizes that executive function and provides visual and tactile prompts that enable Jon to succeed on his own.

Simon’s Story (An Intro to EF for Children)

In kid-friendly terms, Simon describes the EF-related challenges that he faces and the difficulty he has in staying on track with his good intentions. He then explains how scaffolding helps him overcome these challenges. He describes his use of visual tools similar to the wrist list that Jon used. But Simon also acknowledges that occasional scaffolding from adults–in the form of cues or prompts–is needed to remind him of his commitment to using those tools. The story ends with a checklist and a worksheet that children can use to discuss their own EF-related challenges and to begin to identify possible ways to help themselves “stay on track.”

Total Pages
29 pages
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