Why Executive Functions Are So Important

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,215
    Education expert Ann Dolin discusses why executive functions are so important to students.

    Ann Dolin: Over the last 20 years there has been a tremendous amount of resource devoted to very important cognitive abilities responsible for school success. These inabilities are called Executive functions and they control a person's ability to stay focused, plan ahead, strategies and recall information.

    Some students come by these skills naturally, while others need lots of support. One way to help with planning is to sit down with your child and together breakdown seemingly large assignments into smaller more manageable chunks.

    Oftentimes students focus best when they have built-in brace to recharge during homework. On a 35 card list small reward for your child to choose from after he completes an assignment. Children with poor executive function skills tend to need lots of encouragement to keep their rooms, bag packs, desks and lockers organized.

    Take a photo of the one area that needs to stay organized when it's in its neatest state. This way, he will have a frame of reference for what his room, or desk, or other areas to look like when he needs to clean it up.

    The good news is that executive functioning improves with age, but as a parent you can help move the process along a little bit faster by modeling organization yourself and trying out just a few of these steps.