You might be surprised to learn that while executive functioning issues are usually found in kids with ADD or ADHD, they are also common in kids with dyslexia. The following is a list of executive functions found in Late, Lost, and Unprepared by Drs. Joyce Cooper-Kahn and Laurie Dietzel*:
* Joyce Cooper-Kahn and Laurie Dietzel. Late, Lost, and Unprepared. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House, 2008.
The article Understanding Executive Functioning Issues by Amanda Morin shows how executive functioning typically works:
Performing almost any task involves some level of executive functioning. When working well, the brain can move through these steps in a few seconds, though simple tasks become a challenge when these skills are weak.
Because every person has a unique combination of individual executive function, someone who struggles can display any of the following signs:
Young children do not have well-developed executive functions. These skills typically grow in daily life through imitating the examples set by teachers and parents through the preschool, elementary, and middle school years. Students with learning disabilities need explicit teaching and many opportunities for supported practice for improving executive function skills. Scaffolding with temporary supports is necessary until sufficient repetition occurs to build neural pathways. More and more of these functions become fully operational as the prefrontal cortex in the brain, which controls executive functioning, reaches full development between puberty and the mid-twenties. Concerns regarding executive functioning need to be evaluated in light of what is typical for a certain age range.
As a parent, you can play the role of surrogate executive and provide supports during the growth periods of these skills. Supports will need to be used many times to provide the repetition the brain needs to internalize the skills. The brain needs many repetitions to strengthen the neural pathways to improve executive function and make these skills automatic.
** Amanda Morin. “Understanding Executive Functioning Issues.” Understood.Org. 2014. https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/executive-functioning-issues/understanding-executive-functioning-issues
See also the article on ADHD and Memory
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