Tuesday, July 3, 2012

executive function 2 - lists

when i attended that most excellent professional development seminar at the springer school, they recommended this book.  i am making my way slowly through it, but wanted to stop here and recommend it to you.  

it's very usable, whether your child has executive function issues or not.  in fact, the book has useful checklists to see what executive strengths and weaknesses people have.  it includes preschool/kindergarten, lower elementary, upper elementary, middle school, and adult questionnaires.  these are vey helpful, because your strength may match your child's, or they may be very different!  we teachers took the assessment during the class, and were told to be careful that our weakness does not affect the classroom.  wise advice!

remember that executive functions include:

remembering/juggling information mentally
shifting/being flexible
emotional regulation

from smart but scattered, here are 7 things to notice if your child has trouble at school:

1.  know your child's executive skills weaknesses and pay close attention to his or her emotion and behavior in response to tasks assigned.
2.  when your child is avoiding a task, consider the possibility that he or she can't do it.
3.  figure out what executive skills the task requires and ask yourself if the child possesses those skills.
4.  figure out whether something in the environment is making the task difficult for your child.
5.  if your child can do the task sometimes but not all the time, this may simply mean you've identified an executive skill weakness.
6.  if your child has handled the task some of the time, figure out what made success possible.
7.  if your child seems to have the executive skills to do the task, is the problem that the child does not believe he or she can succeed?  if so, either alter the task so the child has quick success, or (if you are sure the child can be successful), help him or her get started, or rehearse responding to the problem.

last list for today - 
10 principles to improve your child's executive skills:

1.  teach deficient skills
2.  consider your child's developmental level.  children with adhd may be much younger developmentally than their age.  
3.  move from external support to internal
4.  remember that external includes changes you can make in the environment, the task, or the way you interact with the child.  
5.  use rather than fight the child's innate drive for mastery and control.  (routines, give choices, use negotiation)
6.  modify tasks to match the child's capacity to exert effort.  
7.  use rewards
8.  provide just enough support for the child to be successful.
9.  keep supports and supervision ini place until the child achieves mastery or success.
10.  when you stop supports, supervision, and incentives, do so gradually.  

you can read more here.
enough teacher-talk.  happy 4th of July!


  1. This is so important at the moment as Tal started high school this year. I can wait to read this book; I think I could benefit from it too xxx
    p.s happy 4th of july for tomorrow xx

  2. So much great information here, Noreen! Thank you so much for putting this all together. I'm going to check that book out.
    Happy Fourth of July to you too!

  3. I love this book Noreen. I wish I'd had it on our trip because I'm enjoying the dig-through of it myself. So much to learn and understand both about my kid AND myself. I love your teacher talk! Keep it coming! I think you should put all these posts together under a separate heading (to make things easier for me of course! wink, wink!)


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