Executive functions are the cognitive abilities that control and regulate most of what we do in day-to-day life, including the ability to initiate, plan and organize, set goals, solve problems, regulate emotions, and monitor behavior. Difficulties in this area can hinder your child academically, socially, and emotionally. While they are present from an early age, you may not notice problems with executive functions until middle school, when the demands for working independently increase.

How do I know if my child has executive function difficulties?
Some signs of executive function difficulty may include:
  • Keeping a messy room and a disorganized desk
  • Difficulty following multiple-step instructions
  • Trouble sitting still
  • Needing to be nagged repeatedly to get ready to catch the bus
  • Failing to complete assignments unless you’re standing over them
  • Forgetting to turn in homework even when it’s completed
  • Losing things regularly, from jackets to permission slips
  • Having a meltdown when it’s time to clean their room
  • Having difficulty planning and managing time
  • Failing to control the impulse to lash out when frustrated
  • Engaging in risk-taking or thrill-seeking behaviors