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Executive functioning issues

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

By Amanda Morin

225Found 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.

225Found 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

A parent advocate and former teacher, Amanda Morin is the proud mom of kids with learning and attention issues and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.

More by this author

Reviewed by Laura Tagliareni, Ph.D. Feb 09, 2014 Feb 09, 2014

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