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Executive functioning issues

Executive Functioning Issues: What You’re Seeing in Your Grade-Schooler

By Amanda Morin

246Found this helpful

Executive functioning issues can make things like planning and organization especially tough for kids. And that can cause trouble for grade-schoolers at home and at school. Explore these signs.

246Found this helpful
Executive Functioning Issues: What You’re Seeing in Your Grade-Schooler

Trouble switching gears, planning and organizing can be signs of executive functioning issues. Here are examples of how this can play out.

Has Trouble Shifting Between Activities
At home: Your child is concentrating on a project and gets up to answer the phone. After hanging up, she has lost interest in the project and leaves it unfinished.
At school: Your child can solve a math problem one way. But she has trouble when the teacher requires her to show her work using another method.
The issue: Kids with executive functioning issues can struggle to switch gears, especially when learning a new skill or task.

Can’t Get Organized
At home: Your child repeatedly mixes up assignments. She doesn’t bring home the books or handouts she needs for her homework.
At school: Your child’s desk is full of crumpled papers and pencil stubs. Her schoolwork folder and the pencil box on her desk are both empty.
The issue: Many kids with executive functioning issues struggle to keep their things organized. They have a hard time even when given an organizational system to work with.

Gets “Stuck” on an Idea
At home: You explained that you’re all going out to dinner. But your child is insistent about getting pizza delivered because it’s Thursday and that’s pizza night.
At school: Your child argues with other kids about how to play a game. They’re trying to make up new rules!
The issue: Many kids with executive functioning issues feel frustration or even panic when rules and routines are challenged.

Misses the Point
At home: Your child seems to focus on the least important detail of what you’ve said.
At school: Your child has trouble finding the right information in a word problem to come up with an equation.
The issue: Kids with executive functioning issues can have a hard time figuring out when to look at the big picture and when to focus on details— and which details.
Graphic of Executive Function Issues-What You're Seeing in Your Grade-Schooler
Graphic of Executive Function Issues-What You're Seeing in Your Grade-Schooler

About the Author

Portrait of Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin is a parent advocate, a former teacher and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.

Reviewed by

LPortrait of aura Tagliareni

Laura Tagliareni, Ph.D., is a pediatric neuropsychologist in New York City and a clinical instructor at NYU Langone Medical Center.

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