Simple Ways to Get Kids with Autism Unstuck and on Target
Solving Executive Function Challenges
Special Education
This problem-solving quick guide helps you explicitly teach key executive function skills to high-functioning children with autism (Grades K-8). Teach flexibility, goal setting, and organization—three skills critical to success inside and outside the classroom.
76030 978-1-59857-603-0
2014 184
Available Stock

How can you help kids with autism be flexible, get organized, and work toward goals—not just in school but in everyday life? It's all about executive function, and this quick problem-solving guide helps you explicitly teach these critical skills to high-functioning children with autism (Grades K-8). Used on its own or in tandem with the popular Unstuck and On Target! classroom curriculum, this practical guide shows how to embed executive function instruction in dozens of everyday scenarios, from morning routines to getting homework done. Designed for therapists, teachers, and parents, these highly effective techniques give children the skills they need to navigate each day, reach their goals, and succeed inside and outside the classroom.


  • Understand executive function—why it's important and why it's challenging for children with autism
  • Teach three skills critical to success: flexibility, goal setting, and organization
  • Use consistent scripts and key words to help children process your message
  • Model desired behaviors —and fade your guidance as children generalize skills
  • Provide simple, effective visual cues that keep kids unstuck and on target
  • Keep it fun and positive, with tips on creative, playful ways to teach executive function skills

PRACTICAL MATERIALS: Dozens of specific, easy-to-do examples; "Goal, Plan, Do, Check" scripts and worksheets that break down tasks into small, achievable chunks; key words and phrases that help kids stay on target; reproducible visual aids; sample IEP goals.

Help children with autism

  • Compromise with family and friends
  • Turn "big deals" into "little deals"
  • Move on to Plan B when Plan A doesn't work
  • Make plans and carry them out
  • Solve problems independently
  • Be a good friend
  • Handle disappointments and unexpected events
  • Avoid "whims" that get them off track

Quick-reference magnet included! As a bonus, you'll also get a 4 x 6 magnet printed with key words and sample scripts from Unstuck and On Target! It's a handy quick reference for the "Goal-Plan-Do-Check" process that helps students set and meet goals.

About the Reproducible Materials
About the Authors
Foreword Brenda Smith Myles
Introduction and How to Use This Manual
For Whom Is This Book Written?
How to Use This Manual
Making Unstuck and On Target! a Way of Life
  1. What Is Executive Function, How Is It Impaired in Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Two Ways to Help
  2. What Is Executive Function?
    How Is Executive Function
    Impaired in Autism Spectrum Disorder?
    Two Ways to Help: Change the Environment and Teach New Skills
  3. Overview of the Unstuck and on Target! Intervention
  4. Three Executive Function Skills
    How Do You Make It Happen? Four Teaching Methods
  5. Unstuck: Teaching a Child to Be Flexible
  6. What Is Cognitive Flexibility, and Why Is Being Flexible Important?
    What Are the Key Words and Scripts or Phrases?
    Teach by Doing: How to Model Being Flexible/Unstuck
    How to Make It Fun
    Key Visual and Technological Supports
  7. On Target: Planning to Achieve Your Goals
  8. What Are Goal Setting and Planning, and Why Are They Important?
    What Are the Key Words and Scripts or Phrases?
    Teach by Doing: How to Model Goal, Plan, Do, Check
    How to Make It Fun
    Key Visual and Technological Supports
  9. Target Goal
  10. What Is a Target Goal, and Why Is It Important?
    What Are the Key Words and Scripts or Phrases?
    Teach by Doing: How to Model Staying on Target
    How to Make It Fun
    Key Visual and Technological Supports
  11. Troubleshooting: Changing the Environment to Solve Everyday Problems
  12. Why Keep It Positive
    How to Keep It Positive
    Why Avoid Overload?
    How to Avoid Overload
    Why Break Things Down (When This Child Is So Smart)?
    How to Break Things Down and Help a Child Build up to Mastering New Skills
    Why Talk Less, Write More (When This Child Has a Bigger Vocabulary than I do)?
    How to Talk Less, Write More
    Why Should I Take Care of Myself (When It's My Child Who Is Having Difficulty)?
    How to Take Care of Yourself
    Why Have Coping Strategies Ready
    How to Have Coping Strategies Ready
    Why Think "Can't, Not Won't"?
    How to Think "Can't, Not Won't"
    Why Make Technology My Ally?
    How to Make Technology Your Ally
Appendix A: Sample Goal, Plan, Do, Checks
Appendix B: Sample Individualized
Education Program Goals and Accommodations that Address Executive Dysfunction


Be the first to submit a review on this product!
Review and Rate this Item


Shannon Lisowe, speech-language pathologist and editor of the Speechy Musings blog, - July 27, 2016
“This curriculum actually teaches HOW to be flexible, stay organized, and how to tackle difficult executive functioning skills. It is intended for children on the autism spectrum but I've also used it with children with other diagnoses such as language disorders or ADHD. It has even come in handy for some of my articulation kiddos who have difficulty with frustration tolerance!”
Dr. Julie Causton, Syracuse University - March 17, 2014
“A must-have guide for every parent or teacher who is blessed to have a child with autism spectrum disorder.”
Bree Hibbard, advocate and mother of three children with ASD - March 5, 2014
“This book is the 'how to' that ASD families have been waiting for ... bridges the gap between ASD children and their typically developing peers. It encourages parents and ASD children to find the humor in their mistakes and allows them to see life as an adventurous journey.”
Robert Naseef, Alternative Choices, Philadelphia, PA, author of Autism in the Family - March 5, 2014
“A real gem that delivers on the promise of the title. With clarity and proven effectiveness, the authors put what we think and do intuitively into a wonderful resource that can help parents, teachers, and therapists work together effectively.”
Dr. Deb Leach, Associate Professor of Special Education, Winthrop University Counseling, Leadership, and Educational Studies - February 4, 2014
“Provides parents, teachers, and therapists with practical tools and strategies for teaching students with ASD executive functioning skills that will significantly improve their quality of life and promote positive behaviors.”