Study Skills | Executive Function Strategies | Parenting Solutions
The management system of the brain. The CEO. The conductor of an orchestra. The air traffic controller at an airport. The Big Cheese.
Executive skills refer to the cognitive processes required to plan and organize activities, including task initiation and follow through, working memory, sustained attention, performance monitoring, inhibition of impulses, and goal-directed persistence. Located primarily in the prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain just behind the forehead), these skills begin to develop soon after birth, but neuroscientists are now realizing that it takes about 25 years for these skills to fully mature. And for kids with attention disorders, these skills tend to develop even more slowly. The MRI images reveal how slowly the frontal lobes of the brain mature (with the color purple representing full maturation).
(Peg Dawson, co-author Coaching Students with Executive Skills Deficits)
Trouble with executive function is not a diagnosis or a learning disability, but it is common in people who learn and think differently. Everyone with ADHD has trouble with executive skills; as a matter of fact, executive dysfunction is known as the hallmark characteristic of ADHD.
Below will give a brief explanation of each executive function skill:
It is essential to keep in mind that these skills begin to develop from infancy. They are natural like our ability to learn language. This is promising when it comes to helping our struggling students because we can teach these critical skills to help them succeed in life.
(Dawson, P., & Guare, R. (2009). Smart but scattered: The revolutionary “executive skills” approach to helping kids reach their potential. New York: Guilford Press.)