Focusing on Success, Executive Functioning at Chrysalis: A therapeutic approach…

Executive Functioning at Chrysalis School Montana

Executive Function
Behavioral Categories

Impulse Control
The ability to stop and think before acting

Emotional Control
The ability to manage feelings by thinking about goals

Planning/Prioritizing
The ability to create steps to reach a goal and to make decisions about what to focus on

Flexibility
The ability to change strategies or revise plans when conditions change

Working Memory
The ability to hold information in mind and use it to complete task

Self- Monitoring
The ability to monitor and evaluate your own performance

Task Initiation
The ability to recognize when it is time to start something without procrastinating

Organization
The ability to create and maintain systems to keep track of information or materials

Are you always late, do you need an analog or digital watch when telling time? As you make appointments, are they color coded or bulleted when written in your planner? When building new Ikea furniture are you more successful with the word or picture directions? These are questions we have answered and skills we have developed over time to make our days more successful and efficient as adults. The clinical term for this is an executive function. Executive functions are a set of processes that have to do with managing oneself and one's resources in order to achieve a goal. It is an umbrella term for the neurologically-based skills involving mental control and self-regulation. The Chrysalis team is committed to teaching students executive function skills and helping students apply the executive functioning skills to promote success both in and outside the classroom-continuing after graduation and into the future.

With this in mind, the clinical and academic teams collaborated to facilitate a class for students dedicated to learning and implementing executive functioning skills. For 10 weeks Chrysalis students spent 1 hour per week evaluating how the brain works as well as identifying skills and areas where improvements were needed. The class time was used to help students learn new skills in time management, organization, and other general areas in order for students to grow and succeed with effective processing and executive functioning. Each student received the book Seeing My Time by Marydee Sklar, a “Visual tool for Executive Functioning Success”. Staff wrapped around each student to assess and support them on an individual level to further develop their individual needs.

Executive functioning support continues during the school year by engaging Chrysalis students in small teacher-led classes. Our certified teachers are eager to personalize their academic approach and schedule for each student’s needs. Students work one on one with their academic advisors to check in at the end of the day to review workload and schedule. During this time students process the amount of school work they have; access how to manage life while making sure they are set up for success academically, and learning to use their new skills while advocating for their needs.

Chrysalis Statistics

Executive Functioning Skills Questionnaire (EFS-C)

  • On the Executive Functioning Skills questionnaire, a proprietary measurement, 81% of students who successfully complete the Chrysalis program report they are able to self-manage and self-regulate to effectively function day-to-day and achieve goals at the time of discharge.
  • 86% of students who successfully complete program report they’re able to appropriately prioritize and use time productively at the time of discharge.
  • 78% of students who successfully complete program report that they are able to recognize complex issues and make appropriate decisions in a timely manner at the time of discharge.
  • 85% of all students report they’re able to resist temptations, urges, or impulses upon discharge.
  • 77% of all students report they’re able to effectively focus their attention to complete day-to-day functions, as well as long-term goals upon discharge.