Many individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder and other Learning Disabilities have difficulty with “Executive Function”. Simply put, Executive Function is a term used to describe the ability to organize and execute plans to complete tasks efficiently and in a timely manner. Executive Function involves the following skills:
- Planning, or being able to create the road map to the goal
- Organization, or arranging a system to perform a task
- Time Management, including estimating and allocating time, staying within time limits, and having a sense that time is important
- Working Memory, which is the ability to retain or remember information from past experience, draw on it, apply it to a situation during a task, and to project problem solving strategies the future
- Metacognitive Skill, which involves the ability to “take a bird’s eye view” of one’s self and the situation and to be able to self-monitor and self-evaluate performance.
As children move through the early elementary grades, problems with these skills quickly become more apparent due to increasing demands from schoolwork, assignment planning, and prioritization. Many of these children also have difficulty recognizing when the need to ask for help, continuing to struggle until they repeatedly fail at tasks. This impacts self-esteem and motivation to “try”. Fortunately, there are loads of great strategies available to help children, and the child’s educational team (parents included!) can use these to help them develop strategies to organize time, materials, and tasks so that schoolwork gets completed and the child experiences success.
Some strategies the team might use to help the child include: providing specific planners to keep track of assignments, setting up reminder systems, setting-up notebooks, desks and book bags with dividers and containers to keep materials in order. In addition, regular “cleaning out” of desks, lockers and books bags will greatly help the student to improve organization of materials.
Article on digital organization of files
Article on time management problems and teaching skills
General info on EF and strategies
This site has tons of great info for parents regarding homework issues for children of all ages and teens
Help Your Child Beat Procrastination