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Executive Function and Learning

September 15th, 2015

Executive Function has almost become a new buzz word. I have had numerous parents calling me asking for help with their kids that have executive function difficulties.

What Is Executive Function?

Executive function is a term used to describe a set of mental processes that helps us connect past experience with present action. We use executive function when we perform such activities as planning, organizing, strategizing and paying attention to and remembering details.

These skills allow us to finish our work on time, ask for help when needed, wait to speak until we’re called on and seek more information.

executive function, executive functioning, executive disorder

Problems with Executive Function

Executive Function difficulties can lead to difficulties with planning, organizing and managing time and space. They also show weakness with “working memory” (or “seeing in your mind’s eye”), which is an important tool in guiding one’s actions.

Problems may occur with organizing, prioritizing, and activating work. These are the same skills required to complete homework assignments.

Those with executive Function Disorder or problems typically also have problems with focus – both sustaining focus on a topic as well as shifting from one topic to another topic or task.

This is also typical with those with ADHD. In fact, everyone that has ADD or ADHD has executive function problems. On the other hand, all of those with executive function disorder do NOT have ADD or ADHD.

Another important thing to note is that executive function is NOT totally intact until your mid-twenties. So, we can’t expect our children to be able to plan and execute homework or other tasks perfectly. In fact, completing homework is an 11 step process. The main reason for homework is to teach those planning skills. The actual homework task isn’t as important as the ability to plan and carry out the assignment to completion and turn it in.

That being said, completing an assignment accurately is part of the process of homework. So just turning something in doesn’t totally fulfill the planning process.

Executive function can improve. These are learned skills and can improve with instruction! Study skills instruction that incorporates planning skills can and does make a real difference!

For a complimentary strategy session, just go to my calendar to schedule it. Learn what you can do to improve executive function skills!

Blog Topics

executive function, executive functioning, executive disorder

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