Cognitive Enhancement Training

We use cognitive enhancement training to increase executive functioning skills 

Executive function (EF) is a broadly defined cognitive construct used to describe the many skills required to prepare for and execute complex behavior, including planning and goal setting, inhibition, cognitive flexibility, attention, memory and metacognitions including mental representations, awareness and organization.

EF deficits have been found in a variety of conditions, including autism/Asperger’s (ASDs) attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), schizophrenia, and various dementias.

We enhance EF skills through teaching logical curriculums, providing experiential exercises and providing concrete strategies to use to develop skills. Below is an outlined list of some of the specific EF skills enhanced based on individual need:

Cognitive Flexibility

  • Ability to shift attention
  • Ability to identify the details and the main points/ gist/ big picture
  • Ability to think about similarities and differences
  • Ability to think about things on a spectrum and/or range
  • Ability to think about something in more than one way
  • Ability to generate more than one response to the same stimuli
  • Ability to tolerate different ways of thinking

Goal Setting  and Organization  (Hill, Skill, Will)

  • Ability to think ahead in the future and plan
  • Ability to identify short term and long term goals
  • Ability to identify steps to reach goal
  • Ability to organize and sequence steps to goal
  • Ability to self–assess skills necessary to reach the goal
  • Desire to achieve and reach the goal


  • Ability to think about own thoughts and be self-aware
    • Levels of awareness (adapted from Swartz and Perkins; 1989)
    • Tacit use : children make decisions without really thinking about them
    • Aware use: children become consciously aware of a strategy or decision-making process
    • Strategic use: children organize their thinking by selecting strategies for decision-making
    • Reflective use: children reflect on thinking, before, during and after the process, pondering on progress and how to improve
  • Ability to think about past, present and future
  • Ability to use think aloud
  • Ability to use self-talk
  • Ability to use purposeful thinking and change thinking style or patterns
  • Ability to use higher-level thinking of abstraction, inference and problem-solving


  • Ability to attend to multiple cues or pieces of information simultaneously (or very quickly)
  • Ability to use direct or focused attention
  • Ability to sustain attention
  • Ability to redirect attention intentionally


  • Ability to encode information by simplifying and  identifying relevant pieces or main points
  • Ability to organize information using categorizing, chunking, cataloging, visuals, symbols, rubrics, mnemonics etc.
  • Ability to link information purposefully and meaningfully
  • Ability to retrieve information using strategies (i.e. mental retracing, association searching, recreating context and mental organization)
  • Ability to use prospective memory- remembering to do something in the future
  • Ability to use organizational skills (structured environment, calendars, lists, etc)
  • Ability to use thinking ahead and planning
  • Ability and willingness to use overlearning through repetition