According to the Harvard University Center on the developing child, Executive function and self-regulation skills are the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully.
Executive function and self-regulation skills depend on three types of brain function:
- Working memory - The ability to retain and manipulate information over short periods of time.
- Mental flexibility – The ability to sustain and shift attention to meet the appropriate demands in a variety of settings.
- Self-control -The ability to set goals and priorities in response to impulsive actions and external factors.
(Courtesy of the Harvard University Center for the Developing child).
Dr Peg Dawson and Dr Richard Gaure from the smart but scattered approach also stated that “Executive skills refer to the brain-based, cognitive processes that help us to regulate our behavior, make decisions and set and achieve goals. The Smart but scattered approach separates the Executive functions into 11 areas:
Executive functioning starts in the brain, the Pre-Frontal Cortex. It is the management system of the brain and is often the last to develop. Children are not born with Executive functioning skills, rather develop them from infancy with full maturation around 25 years old, and the great news is, like all learned skills they can be practiced and strengthened. If your child is struggling with Executive Functioning skills contact us here.
At LAB Learning Clinic, we use a smart but scattered approach to assist individuals with Executive functions primarily in the following areas:
- Planning & Prioritising
- Time Management
- Goal-Directed Persistence Task Initiation
- Working Memory
Through goal-directed sessions, students learn to understand what is Executive Functioning and how it can impact daily decisions, reading, writing, academics and daily living skills.
What do Executive functioning difficulties look like?
- Difficulty planning writing tasks- unable to get thoughts from head to paper.
- Easily distracted and required reminders or prompts to stay on task
- Difficulty starting and completing tasks
- Difficulties completing homework tasks or planning for large assignments
- Struggles to understand the amount of time required to complete a task or project
- Difficulties in time management, estimating how long it will take to complete a task and to make deadlines.
- Appears disorganised
- Demonstrates difficulty with time management and staying on task
- Has difficulty focusing on both details and the big picture
- Difficulties in metacognition, ability to self-monitor and evaluate, taking a birds-eye view of what’s just happened or happening.
- Takes longer than peers to finish tasks or homework
- Difficulties holding information in memory while performing complex tasks.
- Difficulties drawing on past experiences or knowledge to apply to the current situation or planning for future projects
- Has trouble following multi-step directions
LAB Learning Clinic uses a Smart but Scattered Approach relating to two main areas:
- Learning- the impact Executive functioning has on language based learning skills of writing, reading and comprehension. We assist students in understanding how to learn.
- Organisation, planning and Self-Control- The ability to organise ones thoughts, sequence tasks and plan for specific goals that may be impacting daily living skills.
Book an assessment at LAB Learning Clinic