The executive functions are a set of processes that all have to do with managing oneself and one's resources in order to achieve a goal. They are neurologically-based skills involving mental control and self-regulation.
Executive functioning skills are cognitive processes that allow children (PreK – 12) to plan, organize, make decisions, pay attention and regulate behavior. When a student needs to problem solve or evaluate decisions, they are using executive functioning skills. When they are gathering their belongings to go home for the day and prepare for homework that evening, they are using executive functioning skills. When a child manages time and is focused and attentive, executive functioning skills are being used. These skills are essential for success in the school years and into adulthood.
Many times, executive functioning skills go unnoticed and problems at school arise. Sometimes a child may be struggling with the learning process and may not know why. They could be labeled as lazy or low-achievers. Self-confidence can decline and behaviors may increase.
Your child may need help with executive functioning skills if:
● He remembers only the first or last thing of a ‘to-do’ list
● She has difficulty starting and/or completing tasks
● Organization of written work is poor
● There is trouble managing materials
● Assignments are often lost
● Personal items can’t be found (clothes, shoes, pencils, books, etc.)
● He fails to turn in completed work
● She has trouble managing time
● Focus and attention is difficult