Monday, March 11, 2013

STOP and develop situational awareness

Recycled stop sign
Image credit: Arlette via Flickr

This is another great tip about executive function that I learned from a presentation by Sarah Ward, MS, CCC-SLP of Cognitive Connections. She stressed that every situation has four features (Space, Time, Objects, People) and identifying these features of any given situation can help develop situational awareness, which in turn helps with development of planning skills and problem solving skills.

STOP stands for:

Space - where?
Time - when?
Objects - what?
People - who?

For every situation, assess the components of STOP.

For example, when getting ready for school:
Space: in my home (bedroom, bathroom, dining room)
Time: 7:00 (need to leave at 7:45)
Objects: cereal, clothes, toothbrush, backpack
People: mom to help with my cereal

Another example, when completing homework:
Space: at the table
Time: 6:30, after dinner
Objects: school books, pencil, eraser
People: mom or dad to check my work when I'm done

As a student becomes more independent in using the STOP strategy to assess a situation, the student can then be guided to "STOP" and read situations on his own.

For example, after lunch a student might assess the situation in this way:

"The bell rings in five minutes [time], so I only have a few minutes [time] to go to my locker [space] and get my books [object]. I have Spanish class and then science [time]. If I forget my Spanish homework [object] again, Mr. Thompsen [person] will give me a zero."

By being able to assess a situation in this way, the student can develop planning skills ("I need to go to my locker and get my homework") and problem solving skills ("I only have five minutes, so I better hurry up.")

*The information in this post is based on a presentation I attended by Sarah Ward, MS, CCC-SLP, co-founder with Kristen Jacobsen, MS, CCC-SLP, of Cognitive Connections.
For more information, check out their website Cognitive Connections or follow them on Twitter! 
Follow Sarah Ward, MS, CCC-SLP on Twitter: @swardtherapy
Follow Kristen Jacobsen, MS, CCC-SLP on Twitter @KJSLP

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