Building executive functioning skills with decision trees

When students have difficulty with steps in a process, sequencing events, or making choices, you can keep them on track by providing prompts. Using clear visuals paired with words, decision trees support tasks and workflows to develop skills such as planning, organizing, time management, prioritizing, and self‑monitoring.

Provide concrete, easy‑to‑follow instructions

A decision tree can help students quickly see the consequences of their choices—positive and negative—and steer them toward desired behaviors. Similarly, a visual workflow guides students through a process, and “if‑then” visuals support transitions. These decision trees are quite easy to create, with user-friendly click-and-drag tools.

Deliver just‑in‑time support

You can schedule a decision tree to appear at any point during a student’s activity—right when the information will help most—whether it’s support for making the right choice, or completing a step in a process. This will gradually eliminate the need for an adult to prompt the student, building important independence skills.

Implement with fidelity and best practices

  • Choose a template provided within Positivity, individualize it with relevant symbols or images, and deliver prompts that will help students visualize the reward for a positive decision or action.
  • For best results, teach students about using and interpreting the decision trees and workflows you create before introducing the visuals into their daily schedules.
  • Reinforce desired actions or choices by pairing the decision tree or workflow strategy with Positivity’s incentive strategies.

Are you ready to see it in action?

The time is now! See for yourself why educators across the country rely on n2y’s products and vision to elevate the quality of education for students with unique learning needs.