Do you find that your evenings and mornings are primarily spent helping your child track down missing work or lost items and generally trying to help them get organized enough to manage their school day and extra-curricular activities? Is assisting your child too much interfering with family time and leisure time? Is this causing your family and your child stress? This scene is common in many families with middle and high school children that should be starting to manage their own lives. These problems are often caused by a weakness in Executive Functioning Skills: the skills that allow us to manage ourselves and our time with the resources we have. These skills are critical when it comes to being successful in school, but these skills are not often not taught in the classroom.
The following are the Executive Functioning skills:
- Emotional Control: The ability to regulate emotions in order to stay productive and complete a task
- Initiation: The ability to start a task independently
- Planning/Organization: The ability to plan and organize one’s time, assignments and activities effectively
- Shift: The ability to move from one task to another
- Working memory: The ability to hold information in the mind for completing a task
- Inhibitions: Stopping impulses at the right time in order to stay focused and accomplish the task at hand
Executive functioning coaching addresses weaknesses in executive functioning skills. Executive functions develop throughout childhood and continue to develop into early adulthood. Often, executive functioning difficulties become apparent for the first time during adolescence (although they may reveal themselves earlier). Poor or underdeveloped executive functioning skills may result in several difficulties for children, including emotional difficulties, risk-taking behavior, compulsive behaviors and attention problems. All of these may ultimately cause many issues in the self-esteem and functioning of the child and family, both in and out of school.
If executive functioning weaknesses are suspected, a neuropsychologist will be able to diagnose specific areas that need to be improved. A directed, executive functioning coaching program designed to address these challenges will result in a marked improvement in the current and future functioning of the child. North Shore Pediatric Therapy offers both individual executive functioning coaching programs and intensive workshop experiences to teach these vital skills. Contact us to schedule your appointment today.
*Cooper-Kahn, Joyce, Dietzel, Laurie. Late, Lost and Unprepared: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning: Woodbine House Inc: 2008.
Rush University Executive Functioning Curriculum Training. https://www.aboutkidshealth.com.ca/En/News/Series/Executive