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Executive Dysfunction

Executive functioning skills are “brain-based skills required for humans to effectively execute, or perform tasks and solve problems” (Guare, Dawson, & Guare, 2013, p.11). Executive functioning includes working memory, planning, prioritization, organization, time management, activation, self-control and self-awareness, task initiation, flexibility, sustained attention, and time management. Executive dysfunction is a relatively new term used to describe individuals who may find challenges executing these skills.

Here are ways to support students who struggle with executive functioning:

  • Use active listening skills when engaging with a student with executive functioning deficits.
  • Provide timers, an agenda book, or an electronic organization system for homework and tasks.
  • Incorporate advanced organizers into class, this way students can preview and manage information.

References

Dawson, P., & Guare, R. (2018). Executive skills in children and adolescents: A practical guide to assessment and intervention. New York: Guilford Press.

Cartwright, K. B. (2015). Executive skills and reading comprehension: A guide for educators. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

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