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Executive Functions

Executive functions have a tremendous impact on our capacity to learn new information, perform what we already know, and adapt to new environments and challenges. It is crucial for the development of attentional control, future-oriented intentional problem-solving, and self-regulation of emotion.

Eight Skills Definition Dysfunction
Beginning a task or activity
Has trouble getting started on homework or chores
Not acting on an impulse or appropriately stopping one’s own activity at the proper time
Has trouble “putting the brakes” on behavior; acts without thinking
Freely moving from one situation, activity, or aspect of a problem to another as the situation demands
Gets stuck on a topic or tends to perseverate
Anticipating future events, setting goals, and developing appropriate steps ahead of time to carry out an associated task or action
Starts assignments at the last minute; does not think ahead about possible problems
Establishing or maintaining order in an activity or place; carrying out a task in a systematic manner
Has a scattered, disorganized approach to solving a problem; is easily overwhelmed by large tasks or assignments
Checking on one’s own actions during, or shortly after finishing, the task or activity to assure appropriate attainment of goal
Does not check work for mistakes; is unaware of own behavior and its impact on others
Emotional control
Modulating/controlling one’s own emotional response appropriate to the situation or stressor
Is too easily upset, explosive; small events trigger big emotional response
Working memory
Holding information in mind for the purpose of completing a specific and related task
Has trouble remembering things, even for a few minutes; when sent to get something, forgets what he or she is supposed to get

Children aren’t born with these skills—they are born with the potential to develop them.

Executive control intervention comes in two primary forms: environmental adaptation and cognitive training. Five qualities will be key to success – creativity, flexibility, self-control, working memory and discipline. Children will need to think creatively to devise solutions never considered before. Research has shown that brain fitness activities stimulate cognitive development and prime the brain for learning by improving key executive function. These skills are also inextricably linked to social and emotional learning. Speak to our brain expert to overcome your child’s specific executive function challenges.