Supporting Children With Executive Functions

Executive Functions serve as a command and control function.  Think of your brain as a conductor directing an orchestra.  Throughout the day we use these executive skills.  For children, this could be organizing a school project, controlling their emotions, and making transitions.  All individuals with ADHD have executive dysfunction.  Brain imaging shows that children with ADHD are as much as 2 to 5 years behind in development of the pre-frontal cortex connected to executive functions.  Here is a list of all the executive functions:

  1. Inhibition is the ability to stop one’s own behavior at the appropriate time (a.k.a. putting on the brakes).
  2. Shift is the ability to move freely from one situation to another (a.k.a. transitions).
  3. Emotional Control is the ability to reflect on one’s own feelings, put them into context, and use thinking to guide behavior.
  4. Initiation  is the ability to begin a task or activity, generate ideas, and problem solve (a.k.a. procrastinator).
  5. Working Memory  is the ability to hold information in your mind.  This is the brain’s internal search engine.
  6. Planning/Organizing  is the ability to map out a route to reach a goal; the ability to impose order on work, play and storage spaces.
  7. Self-Monitoring  is the ability to monitor one’s own performance and to measure it against the standard of what is needed (a.k.a. personal GPS).

What can you do to help your child?  I recently came across an excellent list of strategies.  You will want to print this!  http://www.sc.edu/scatp/expo/expo12handouts/Executivefunctioning_03%2005%2012.pdf

Katherine Price coaches parents on everything from behavior modification plans to IEP goals.  She helps DC area parents get the ADHD help and resources they need by guiding them through the options available to them, connecting with the right people, and making a workable, affordable plan for the whole family.  For more information about ADHDC, go to www.ADHDC.com.

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