Executive Functioning

Many children who face social‐emotional learning difficulties also experience problems with Executive Functioning, and learning Executive Function skills can help them to overcome or mitigate the effects of other problems.

How to tell if a child has an Executive Function problem

Children with Executive Function issues may exhibit some of the following problems or difficulties:

Trouble Organizing Work

  • Has difficulty identifying what material to record in note taking
  • When given three or more things to do…remembers only the first or the last thing to do
  • Has difficulty getting started on tasks, which may appear as oppositional behavior

Trouble Completing Tasks

  • Starts tasks but may not finish
  • Doesn’t check to insure that each step is completed
  • Written work is poorly organized
  • Doesn’t check work before submitting it
  • Has good ideas but doesn’t get the job done

Trouble Managing Materials

  • Starts assignments/tasks without necessary materials
  • Loses important papers or assignments
  • Cannot find clothes, shoes, toys, books, pencils, etc.
  • Fails to turn in completed work

Trouble Managing Time

  • Does not leave enough time to complete tasks
  • Wastes time doing small projects and fails to do big projects
  • Over‐estimates or under‐estimates time on needed tasks
  • Runs out of time before completing assignments/tasks

Trouble Managing Attention

  • Skips steps in multi‐step tasks
  • Has difficulty relating to a story chronologically
  • Appears distractible and/or impulsive
  • Has difficulty making transitions and/or coping with the unforeseen

Social Difficulties

  • Exhibits inappropriate or over‐reactive responses to situations
  • “Jumps the gun” socially
  • Picks smaller, immediate rewards over larger, delayed rewards
  • Doesn’t realistically evaluate performance in school