Mastering Executive Function Skills from School to Adult Life - Autism Awareness

Mastering Executive Function Skills from School to Adult Life

Featuring Carol Burmeister and Sheri Wilkins

Students with autism and related disabilities often struggle with executive function (EF) skills. The good news for parents and educators is that EF skills can be taught. Furthermore, students can be taught to select and use strategies for building EF skills independently, leading to greater self-determination and success in school and life after school. Teaching through a gradual release of responsibility, teachers can prepare students to use strategies effectively across environments.


Welcome and Introductions
Overview of Executive Function
Current Outcomes for Our Students When They Leave High School
Self-Directed Students:  Teaching Strategies Through Gradual Release of Responsibility
Resources (Including Strategy Cards with Directions for Learners)
Question and Answers
Closing Remarks


Carol Burmeister, M.A., has a life-long passion for supporting individuals, their families, and the schools and community settings that serve them. Her professional experience includes serving as a paraeducator, general education teacher, special educator, program specialist, university instructor, and consultant across a variety of educational settings.

Armed with the knowledge that evidence-based intervention practices for children with ASD are the basis on which effective programs are built, Carol served as a reviewer on both the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders’ and the National Clearinghouse on Autism Evidence and Practices’ updates on evidence-based practices.  For the past several years, her work has focused on the crucial topic of executive function (EF), helping students and parents as well as educators understand the complexity of social, academic, and behavioral challenges that accompany EF deficits and how teaching specific skills in childhood and adolescence can have a positive impact on adulthood.

Carol has presented at regional, national, and international conferences and has authored several articles on this topic.  In addition, she is co-author, with Dr. Sheri Wilkins, of the book, FLIPP the Switch:  Strengthen Executive Function Skills as well as FLIPP the Switch 2.0:  Mastering Executive Function Skills from School to Adult Life for Students with Autism, co-authored with Dr. Wilkins and Dr. Rebecca Silva.

Sheri Wilkins, PhD has worked in the field of special education as a paraprofessional, teacher, university professor and professional developer for over 35 years and has had extensive experience in advising, coaching, training, and facilitating. Sheri has expertise in Direct Instruction, positive behavior supports, curriculum and instruction, school culture, special education and systems change. She has worked with school systems across the U.S. and in Japan and Australia to bring together stakeholders in conversations designed to increase collaboration, positively impact teaching and learning, and build dynamic educational systems that are student-focused and results-driven.

She is the proud mom of four sons and grandmother of five grandchildren. In 2009, following the car accident and traumatic brain injury of one of her children, Dr. Sheri focused her attention on researching specific strategies for developing executive function skills and sharing those strategies with parents and educators. This experience led Dr. Sheri to write, with co-author with Carol Burmeister, FLIPP the Switch: Strengthen Executive Function Skills.