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Executive functioning issues

Executive Functioning Issues: What You’re Seeing in Your Preschooler

By Amanda Morin

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Preschoolers develop skills at different paces. It’s hard to tell what falls outside the range of typical development. Executive functioning issues can be difficult to pinpoint at this age, but here are some signs you might see.

84Found this helpful
Executive Functioning Issues: What You’re Seeing in Your Preschooler

It’s not always easy spot executive functioning issues in preschoolers. But if you notice signs like these, consider talking to your child’s doctor about what you’re seeing.

Answers Questions in Vague or Off-Topic Ways
At home: Your child often responds “yes” when you ask which of two snacks he’d like.
At school: Your child’s answers during group time are rarely related to the question.
The issue: Kids with executive functioning issues may struggle to quickly retrieve information needed to answer a question.

Quits When Things Go Wrong
At home: Your child gets frustrated easily and throws things on the floor instead of asking you for help.
At school: Your child frequently refuses to finish art projects because his first attempts don’t look like the teacher’s example.
The issue: Many kids with executive functioning issues are inflexible thinkers. They can get frustrated when they have to come up with a new plan.

Forgets What Comes Next
At home: You often find your child walking around with his toothbrush, but he hasn’t put any toothpaste on it and hasn’t brushed.
At school: Your child frequently raises his hand but can’t remember the answer when called upon.
The issue: Kids with executive functioning issues struggle to keep information in mind long enough to use it.

Stands Frozen in Place
At home: You ask your child to put his toys away and get washed up for dinner, but he just stands there like a deer in headlights.
At school: Your child can’t seem to master classroom routines like finding something in his cubby or packing up at the end of the day.
The issue: Kids with executive functioning issues have difficulty planning multi-step actions. Sometimes they don’t even know how to get started.
Graphic of Executive Functioning Issues-What You're Seeing in Your Preschooler
Graphic of Executive Functioning Issues-What You're Seeing in Your Preschooler

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.

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Reviewed by Laura Tagliareni, Ph.D. Jan 12, 2014 Jan 12, 2014

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