Five Executive Functioning Groups a Week at Onward Transitions
Onward Transitions, a community-based support program for emerging adults in Portland, Maine, continues to provide executive functioning training groups. These milieu groups, facilitated by specially trained staff, provide emerging adults with opportunities to practice and discuss executive functioning strategies used to solve real-world challenges in their day-to-day lives. Staff worked collaboratively with the emerging adults to better understand what topics were important to them, and then used their practical knowledge of executive functioning training to focus on specialized skill sets. Each weekday, staff members facilitate a daily topical group aimed at helping members to better manage ADHD symptoms and other non-neurotypical challenges limiting their productivity.
Co-founder and lead clinician Darrell Fraize, M.Ed., LCPC, LADC reported the following group themes began early this fall and continue to meet each weekday afternoon: managing distractions (task initiation and organization), time management (planning and prioritizing), budgeting (impulse control), base wellness and mind/body connection (self-monitoring, emotional control), and SMART weekend planning (flexible thinking). Fraize reported that these groups are separate but connected to the six therapy groups facilitated by Onward’s clinical team.
“Many of our members talked about needing structure during their interview process, and then found that they were being successful implementing it this fall just by just showing up for groups and individual appointments. I think everyone’s been pleasantly surprised by the level of engagement, practice and retention of skills from the executive functioning groups. Not everyone is living with ADHD, but what members are finding is that there is value here regardless of how your brain functions.” Fraize stated. “Our members let us know that they found the term ‘adulting’ to be somewhat derogatory, and so they guided us to calling the groups what they are actually about: executive functioning. And from that point, by focusing on what mattered to them in the moment, we have seen a qualitative difference in the way they approach problem-solving more globally. Budgets are better managed, people are on time, members are more understanding with friends and family, and they start AND finish more things. It’s really been a great thing to see happen, particularly when parents recognize the growth and bring it up in family therapy with their adult children. Everyone comes away feeling like a winner.”
About Onward Transitions
Onward Transitions (OT) in Portland, ME is a small, independent, owner-operated program for bright, motivated, emerging adults in the final stages of learning to live on their own. OT supports actual sustainable independent living and autonomy from two city locations. Participants (members) ages 18-29 never live with us; they live in their own apartments, scattered throughout the city. Members’ challenges include anxiety, depression and executive functioning.