Executive function skills are the thinking skills which help our brain to process, organise and act on information. Located in the pre-frontal cortex of our brain, they provide us with our ability to pay attention, plan, organise, remember, problem solve, prioritise, get started on tasks and control our impulses. They also help us to think about thinking – to reflect on our thoughts and actions.

Does your child have many great skills and smarts, but have difficulty with what seem like simple day to day life tasks or self awareness?  If four or more of the following are true about your child it may be helpful to investigate their Executive Functions skills:

  • Finds it hard to figure out how to get started on a task i.e. homework or class work, cleaning their room, getting organised for school
  • Appears disorganised / constantly losing or misplacing things
  • Finds it difficult to break things down i.e. what needs to come first
  • Has trouble paying attention and is easily distracted
  • Directions need to be repeated many times / has difficulty following multi step instructions
  • Struggles to explain something in detail
  • Relies heavily on visual cues
  • Sticks with a plan, even when it’s clear that the plan isn’t working
  • Is impulsive or may demonstrate poor emotional regulation

How can I get help my child?

An occupational therapist is trained to identify your child’s specific areas of difficulty and provide strategies that will help your child overcome or work around these areas of challenge. Occupational Therapists also work together with the school to implement strategies and accommodations to support your child’s individual needs and help them perform to their full potential.  If this is an area that you would like help in you could consider a Comprehensive Assessment.

Alternatively, a program that is effective in helping children that struggle with the Executive function skills of attention and working memory is the Cogmed Program.  If you wonder if this might be helpful for your child feel free to book in for a free information phone call with one of our Cogmed Coaches.