Children who have been diagnosed with ADHD always have some Executive Function challenges. Often children with learning differences have Executive Function challenges. However, there are many children with Executive Function challenges who have not been diagnosed with ADHD and don't have learning differences. Sometimes children who are gifted have Executive Functioning deficts. For example, a student who is gifted may be taking all honors classes in high school, perhaps they skipped a grade and are a year or two younger than the rest of their classmates. While they may be successful at getting straight A's, they may not have developed emotional regulation skills or perhaps they spend too much time completing homework or writing a report. In order to be effective, a student must be able to manage his or her emotions, focus attention, organize materials and workspace and plan and manage time, prioritze activites (both academic and fun) and reflect upon and revise their tactics as circumstances change. Students with deficits in Executive Functioning will often experience a gap between what their standardized test scores indicate about their intelligence and the grades they recieve in school. As the demands of school increase each year, having well developed Executive Function skills is critical in order to achieve academic success.
Students are generally expected to have well developed Executive Function skills by the time they reach high school, but these critical life skills are usually not taught in grade school or middle school. Ultimately, with guidance, students can learn to manage their time effectively, plan and prioritize tasks, organize their thoughts and materials, focus their attention, maintain their composure, and reflect on what worked and what didn't so that they can adjust their strategies for taking on the next challenge in school or in life. In short, in order to achieve consistently outstanding academic results, students must have strong Executive Function skills.
Managing time (spent 4 hours on writing an introduction to a paper, then didn't have enough time to complete other homework)
Organizing thoughts and materials (disorganized writing, backpack and desk are disorganized)
Paying attention (staying focused, managing distractions)
Planning and prioritizing (project managment, overwhelmed with too many tasks)
Getting started (task initiation, might appear to be "lazy" or unmotivated)
Staying on track (motivation, persistence to complete a task)
Remembering what to do and when to do it (might forget assignments or to bring homework back to school to turn in)
Reflecting on past behavior and outcomes (doesn't learn from mistakes, doesn't understand the concept of self-reflection)
Managing feelings and emotions (gets frustrated, depressed, anxious over performance or test anxiety)
One thing you can do is exactly what you are doing. Research. Do your homework to find the best Executive Function coaches available to help your child. Our academic coaches are carefully screened and highly trained and they have experience working with children who have challenges with Executive Functioning. They all have master's degrees or doctorates in education, special education, school psychology or speech and language pathology. Finally , our coaches are supervised and get continuing professional development to ensure that we are providing the very best Executive Function coaching available anywhere in the world. Over the past 10 years, we have developed a comprehensive database with over 200 tools and strategies that we either created or researched and tested. We teach students how to use these tools and strategies (10-12 or however many your child needs to learn) to help them develop stronger Executive Function skills and better study skills so they can be more effective in school and achieve academic success.
Is your child struggling in school? Does it seem as though he or she might have some challenges with Executive Functioning?
Please click below to take our Executive Function challenge assessment and get our preliminary recommendation.