Executive Function Skills

What is executive function?

Executive function are mental skills that enable us to plan, focus attention, and remember directives These skills are controlled by an area of the brain called the frontal lobe.

Executive function deals with:

  • Time management
  • Focus
  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Remembering specific details

With back to school less than a month away… NOW is the perfect time to start preparing/ developing executive function skills with your child at hom

1. MAKE A BACK TO SCHOOL CHECKLIST

Since back to school can be a pretty hectic time, why not start early?! Have some fun and plan leisurely. Sit down with your child and make a running list of items you know they NEED for their classes and maybe some items they WANT.

COLOR COORDINATE, make it fun!  MATH class= write checklist in red, Science= write checklist in blue,  etc. Allow your child to have some control by either writing out the checklist, or checking off the items they have. This will help the child to organize and plan ahead with visual support! This is a good model for appropriate planning ahead!

2.  BUY SOME COLORFUL FOLDERS

Color coordinating/ labeling makes organization fun and easy to find. Having a specific colored folder for each class will help your child to keep track of papers for that class.

3. PICK OUT A BACKPACK!

Backpacks can get pretttttty messy. Start shopping for a backpack with your child to find the best option!  Discuss what they should carry with them, and what they really don’t need. Compartments are good, however too many can cause confusion! I recommend finding a backpack that has 1-2 small compartments for personal items (pencils/pens, tissues, cell phone, money, calculator) and a large area for books/folders. Start reviewing or making a list of what goes in the backpack and where!


Tips from the National Center for Learning Disabilities on managing executive function:

  • Take tasks one step at at time
  • Use visual organizational aids.
  • Utilize time organizers, computers, or watches with alarms.
  • Make schedules and check them several times a day.
  • Get written and oral instructions whenever possible.
  • Plan for transition times between activities.

Treating difficulties with executive function early can help children outgrow it. Experiences and planning ahead can shape executive function as the brain grows. (Web MD, 2015)

Have fun planning for back to school 🙂 Pamela Leibowitz MA CF-SLP TSSLD

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