Cutting Edge Strategies to Improve Executive Function Skills

Thursday & Friday, May 3 & 4, 2018

Sarah Ward, MS, CCC-SLP
Co-Director, Cognitive Connections LLP, Boston

Centre Stage at Surrey City Hall
Surrey, BC

Early Bird rate ends March 21st, 2018

In Person: Cutting Edge Strategies to Improve Executive Function Skills 2018

  • Get 20% off by registering three or more attendees at once (not valid with other discounts).
  • Coupon codes can be entered on the cart page.
  • Visit the event bursaries page for bursary details, including $25/day registration for parents.

Live Web Stream: Cutting Edge Strategies to Improve Executive Function Skills 2018

  • Get 20% off by registering three or more attendees at once (not valid with other discounts).
  • Coupon codes can be entered on the cart page.
  • Visit the event bursaries page for bursary details, including $25/day registration for parents.

or Register by form (pdf)

Level Introductory/Intermediate
For Special educators, teachers, psychologists, behavior consultants/analysts, social workers, SLP’s, OT’s, parents.
Approach Executive Functioning
Autism-specific? No

Page Index

About the Event

Live stream: Watch and participate live by registering for web streaming. This event is only available to web streaming registrants in British Columbia.

After a sold-out appearance last summer in Sidney on Vancouver Island, Sarah Ward, MS, CCC-SLP, is coming to Surrey to teach hands-on practical strategies to improve Executive Function skills. Whether you've seen Sarah Ward before, or this is all new, you're sure to walk away with practical strategies to help you better assist clients, students, or your own children, that you can implement immediately.

Through demonstration and practice, you will learn how to teach students the following executive control skills: awareness; forethought; waiting and planning skills; shifting; pacing; flexibility; speed of information processing.

Individuals with strong executive function skills stay a beat ahead. Strong executive function skills enable us to imagine and plan a "dry run" of the task in our mind before we begin to carry out the plan. When forethought guides children's actions, they can carry out tasks more successfully.

Topics covered over the two days include:

Future Thinkers: A New View of Executive Function Skills

  • Gain a new understanding on how students demonstrate executive function skills and a new perspective on the term “executive dysfunction”.
  • Learn the 360 Thinking Executive Function Model.
  • Understand the relationship between motivation and executive control.
  • The premise of executive function therapy and how to ensure strategies generalize.

Self-Regulation and Situational Awareness

  • Improving self-regulation: Understanding and treating the underlying executive control skills for task motivation, initiation and output.
  • Practice teaching students to develop situational awareness skills so they can “stop and read a room” and self-regulate their behaviors for a given situation.
  • Learn how students can think in an organized and flexible way about systems and then self-initiate to manage their personal belongings in personal and shared spaces.

Teach Students to be a Mind MIME

  • Learn how to help students create mental visual imagery for the future and to perform a mental dress rehearsal to sequence actions towards a goal and hold that prospective memory in mind while they execute and self-monitor through tasks.
  • Learn how to increase a student's spatial temporal window or how far into the future they can see and sustain prospective planning.
  • Improve speed of information processing and cognitive flexibility.

Being a Beat Ahead: Following Routines, Initiating Tasks, Making Transitions

  • Teach student to develop a “memory for the future”.
  • Decrease prompts! Increase the independence with which students can self-initiate, transition, control their behaviors and impulses to complete tasks with less supervision and fewer prompts. Increase a student’s ability to fluidly transition from one mental mindset to another and to switch from a current task to being prepared for a new task.

Space Makeover

  • Learn how to organize the classroom and home/work spaces to promote independent executive function skills with less supervision and fewer prompts. Learn new ideas on how to organize the classroom environment to promote self-regulation.
  • Ideas on how to help students stay organized, manage materials in the classroom, record homework and access resources when they are 'stuck' or need help initiating.
  • How to help students evaluate their work and use their prior performances to create future goals.

Time and Task Management

  • Teach students to internally sense the sweep of time and to self monitor to sustain concentration, manage pace and complete tasks in allocated time frames.

The Get Ready, Do, Done Model

  • Teach students the process of how to visualize simple multi-step and complex tasks and assignments and then sequence and plan the requisite steps to fully complete work. 

Close the Homework Circle

  • Innovative techniques for teaching students to adopt a mindful approach to record, bring home, complete and return assignments in a timely manner.
  • Teach students in school how to set up, create and generalize to home a positive and productive environment for studying and independently completing their work. 

What you will learn  
After completing this program, you will be able to:

  • State the functional working definition of “executive function skills” as it pertains to therapeutic interventions
  • Identify the typical developmental course of executive function skills and how to assess and identify Executive Dysfunction
  • Define how situational awareness, self talk, forethought, gesture/movement and episodic memory are the foundational skills for successful task execution
  • Develop an intervention program to foster a student’s ability to form more independent executive function skills.

Participant Comments

Comments from Sarah Ward's 2017 Executive Functioning Conference in Sidney:

  • "Actual strategies I can implement immediately. Literally. Used on my son last night and it worked!" - Parent
  • "Sarah is a knowledgeable, enthusiastic presenter with a gift for providing a lot of practical strategies and information in an enjoyable and well paced manner. I enjoyed learning and filling my tool kit with practical and very useful strategies." - Professional
  • "Perhaps the best instructor/presenter I have ever had in any subject." - Parent
  • "Specific strategies that I can use with my own children and in my classroom." - Professional

About the Presenter

Sarah Ward, MS, CCC-SLP has over 20 years of experience in diagnostic evaluations, treatment and case management of children, adolescents and adults with language learning disabilities, nonverbal learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, executive dysfunction, Asperger’s disorders and social pragmatics.  Ms. Ward holds a faculty appointment at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions where she provides instruction to graduate level students in the assessment and treatment of individuals with traumatic brain injury and other cognitive communication disorders.  A dynamic presenter, Sarah Ward regularly presents nationally and internationally on the topic of executive functioning to a variety of professional and parent organizations.


Parents: Register for $25/day with the MCFD funded Parent Bursary! Call the ACT Office at 604-205-5467 or toll-free at 1-866-5188 for details.

Date Parents, Para-Pros & Students Professionals
Early Bird Rate ends March 21st, 2018 $300 $375
Regular Rate ends April 25th, 2018 $350 $400
Late Rate begins April 26th, 2018 $375 $425


ACT continues to offer bursaries for para-professionals and professionals, as well as parents of children with other special needs, to improve accessibility to both our live and web streamed events. Please apply early and before you register for the event. ACT provided $27,000 in bursary funding in 2016 in the form of reduced registration fees and gratefully accepts donations to our bursary fund to allow us to provide a greater level of support. Donate to ACT's bursary fund.

MCFD-funded Event Bursaries for Parents of Children with ASD

MCFD has provided ACT with funding for a bursary program for parents and caregivers of children with autism to attend ACT events at a reduced registration rate of $25 per day while funds last. Seats will be filled on a first come, first registered basis. Call the ACT Office at 604-205-5467 or toll-free at 1-866-939-5188 for details.

Autism Funding

Parents who receive Autism Funding may use 20% of the total for equipment, books, training and travel costs. ACT's live events are considered eligible expenses by the Autism Funding Branch. For more information, please see Workshop Registration Using Autism Funding.

Workshop Location

Centre Stage at Surrey City Hall

13450 - 104 Avenue
Surrey, BC

Click to view full map

Hotel Information

Looking for a hotel? View the hotels that give ACT a preferred rate.

Workshop Schedule

8:00 - 9:00 Check-in; book browsing available
9:00 - 10:15 Session 1
10:15 - 10:45 Morning break (coffee and light snacks will be provided); book browsing available
10:45 - 12:15 Session 2
12:15 - 1:00 Lunch; book browsing available
1:00 - 2:15 Session 3
2:15 - 2:30 Afternoon Break (coffee and light snacks will be provided); book browsing available
2:30 - 3:30 Session 4

Please note this schedule is for both days.