72: SLPs Role with Executive Functioning with Kate Melillo



What does executive functioning have to do with speech-language pathology?

Although it is a newer topic in our field, we are able to work with students with executive functioning challenges to accomplish various tasks and achieve goals. Kate Melillo is joining me in this episode to break all of this down!

Kate is a Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and trained comedienne, but she is also a real person, a mom, a wife, and a lover of many kinds of ice cream. Even though this bio has fancy information about her background, what she really wants you to know is that she cares about helping children, parents, and families learn to navigate the social world in the way that they choose. Kate uses her knowledge of improv comedy to enhance her teaching for self-advocacy, social skill preference/development, problem-solving skills, soft skills in the workplace, and cultural diversity. She has been committed to serving children and their parents for her entire career. She hopes that you will see her enthusiasm for this area in the materials, videos, and courses offered by Be a Problem Solver Services. 

Kate obtained her Master of Education degree in Communication Disorders with a focus on pragmatic language. Prior to earning this degree, Kate spent time as a pragmatic skills researcher, helping to design web-based programs and resources for neurodiverse individuals to learn different types of pragmatic skills, workplace skills, and transition skills. She was also a preschool and kindergarten teacher in the US and abroad. Kate has worked in the clinical speech and language field with a wide range of children from infancy to young adulthood, as well as older adults. 

Kate’s passion is teaching her students and families about navigating the social world using a neurodiverse perspective. In a fast-paced world of social media and screens, she believes that now more than ever families can use every opportunity necessary to connect face-to-face in a way that they choose.

In This Episode You’ll Discover:

  • What executive functioning is
  • Why executive functioning is the basis for all learning
  • Examples of  executive functioning challenges
  • Why SLPs teach self-advocacy and pragmatic skills rather than just social skills
  • Assessment for executive functioning difficulties
  • The importance of teaching students self-advocacy
  • How to prepare students for the future

SLPs are able to work on many skills under the executive function umbrella including task initiation, focus, time management, working memory, task completion, organization, self-regulation, and more. 

These are all so important especially for older students as they move through high school and into college!

If you have any questions about this, I highly recommend that you check out Kate’s podcast or the resources on her website!

Are you sick and tired of professional development that isn't relevant to you in the field being a school-based SLP or an SLP that works with school-aged children? I’ve been there, and that is why I created the Speech Retreat conference which provides amazing professional development and practical and relevant information for school-based SLPs! It is on July 17th, but you should get your ticket ahead of time at speechretreat.com because we are already giving away tons of fun prizes in the exclusive Facebook group!


SLPs Role with Executive Functioning with Kate Melillo


Joke of the week:

Q: What is a pretzel’s favorite dance?

A: The twist!


Resources Mentioned: 



6 Ways to Help Your Tween/Teen Build Independence

Be a Problem Solver Podcast




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