“What’s your homework tonight?” “Um, I’m not sure…”

Have you ever wondered how your child can be so forgetful? How his backpack can be so messy, or how she routinely forgets to write down her English homework? If so, your child may have difficulties with executive functioning.

Executive functioning, also known as “cognitive control,” is the management of organizational processes in the brain. These processes include working memory, planning, task flexibility, and execution, among others. School requires students to self-regulate their behavior, and so when there is a problem with executive functioning, you may see your child struggling with tasks such as waiting to speak until he is called on, or keeping track of multiple assignments.

Photo Credit: www.caretoconnectct.com

Photo Credit: www.caretoconnectct.com

These difficulties can be seen at any age, but often reveal themselves in the early elementary grades when students must independently complete increasingly rigorous assignments.

Pediatrician and psychologist Russell Barkley created an executive functioning curriculum that teaches explicit self-regulation skills to students. He recommends training students in four abilities to overcome their difficulties with executive functioning: working memory (to resist distracting/irrelevant information), emotions management (to achieve a goal behavior), self-directed speech (to control actions and generate plans), and analysis of current and past experiences (to make informed decisions).

Our head English tutor Luke Albertson is trained in this curriculum and has found that teaching executive functioning skills is best done while teaching another subject. At your request, we can include this training during our tutoring sessions to increase your child’s organizational and awareness skills. See our Executive Functioning page to learn more!