Misty is a nine year old girl. Her teachers say she is smart, but she can't seem to "get it together". It takes her an hour to come down the stairs ready for school and this is only after her mom has called her 10 times and even with this, she usually has to run back up to put on her shoes. Several times a month one of her parents drops off her homework at school that somehow didn't make it into her bag. Her locker is disorganized and cluttered. At home she sometimes has trouble following through on things her parents ask her to do. She may not "completely" get her room clean, getting distracted half way through. She sometimes gets excited and impulsively interrupts conversations, not even aware that she does it. Other times, she is shy an anxious in new situations. Her parents are at a loss. She is a good reader, is solid with math, and loves science and history. With all of this, why does she keep making C's? Why is school, why is LIFE such a struggle?
The answer lies in Executive Function skills. Execute function can be either simply or very complexly defined. Researchers have been studying these skills for decades. Below is my own definition.
Imagine yourself, or your child, as a company. Like a company, we are multifaceted, complex creatures with many "functions". With all of this complexity, someone needs to be in charge. This "someone" resides in the front part of your brain, just behind the forehead. This part of your brain is responsible for management of you-incorporated. It is your "executive" or your "manager". It's responsibility is to keep you, or your child functional. Keep in mind that this is the last part of the brain to fully mature (around the age of 25 for most people). It is, however, possible to identify when someone has delayed executive functioning for their age level. So with that, below is a brief job description of our frontal lobe.
Without a frontal lobe, we would all be a ship without a captain.
So what do you do if you suspect your child has a problem with executive function? It first helps to define the problem. You can make a list of the particular challenges you see. For example, your child may have challenges with time management,organization, and impulse control. Once you have defined the challenge, find ways to help your child practice these skills in a non-threatening, non-judgmental environment. For example, impulse control can be practiced when playing a basic game of "Simon Says", or "Mother May I", followed by coaching of the skill in a more naturalistic environment. Every child is different, and you know your child best. Setting up practice situations that fit your child's needs and personality can do wonders!
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It is my mission to help families find educational solutions for their children!
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To provide useful information to families regarding educational strategies, interventions, and tools.