(You can find the full text of the 3LPlace Curriculum section on Critical Thinking here.)
Critical thinking skills are the tools we use to think clearly and rationally. They permit us to go beyond simple memorization of facts into the world of analyzing and understanding the connections between ideas. They give us the ability to distinguish between degrees of importance, solve problems systematically, detect errors in reasoning, and reflect on beliefs and values.
Executive functions are closely related to critical thinking skills. Where critical thinking tools are concerned with thought, executive functions are concerned with doing. Executive functions have to do with planning, organization, and execution of planning.
Critical thinking contributes to executive function by providing clear, logical reasoning abilities. Without clear reasoning, efforts to accomplish most non-automatic tasks could be seriously hindered. When the student is skilled in both executive function and critical thinking, he can become an independent, collaborative decision maker and a real-world problem solver.
This module is designed to strengthen critical thinking skills (also referred to as higher order thinking) within the context of executive functions. Using this material, young adults in transition can become effective thinkers and agents of positive change in their own lives. This dual approach is vital for all individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities, regardless of their individual diagnosis or level of functioning.
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