Executive functioning issues are complex. And they can also be confusing. But when you learn that your child has trouble with key executive skills like organization and self-control, the first question you may have is What can help? There are many strategies you and professionals can use to help your child. Here’s an overview.
Are there medications to help kids with executive functioning issues?
There are no medications made specifically for executive functioning issues. But many ADHD medications often can improve executive function. That’s because the two conditions are closely related. Treating the symptoms of ADHD can make it easier for kids to work on building and using executive skills. Talk to your child’s doctor if you’re interested in exploring this option.
There are also medications that can help with anxiety and depression. These issues are fairly common in kids with learning and attention issues. If you’re considering emotional help for your child, here are types of professionals you can turn to.
What types of therapy and intervention can help kids with executive functioning issues?
If your child has weak executive skills, there are a number of professionals who can work with him. They include learning specialists and psychologists. Special education teachers can also help him build key skills like organization and self-control.
Cognitive behavioral therapy isn’t known to improve executive skills. But it can be very helpful if your child is feeling frustrated and angry, or if he has anxiety or depression.
Occupational therapy can help kids who have trouble starting a task without thinking about it first. For instance, a child may not automatically know how to cut something. He might have to learn how to pick up a pair of scissors and start cutting correctly.
In some settings, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work with kids with executive functioning issues. For instance, some SLPs tackle organization and time management skills, as well as executive functions that can impact language (like working memory).
What educational strategies can help kids with executive functioning issues?
Your child’s school can also try different strategies that can help in the classroom. One might be a behavior plan for your child to follow. An important piece of the plan is teaching kids to keep track of their own behavior. That means your child needs to be involved in setting goals, finding solutions and monitoring his own progress.
What else can help kids with executive functioning issues?
There are many strategies you can try outside of school to help your child build key executive skills. Making simple changes at home may also make a difference.
Meditation might help some kids work on self-control. So could exercises that are based in mindfulness, like yoga and tai chi.
Tools for time management can be a big help for kids with executive functioning issues. These can range from digital apps to low-tech options like calendars, timers and picture schedules. Explore Tech Finder for ideas.
Be sure to visit Parenting Coach for ideas, too. There you’ll find many expert-approved tips for helping your child build organization and time management skills.
Not all kids with executive functioning issues struggle with the same skills. You may have to try a few treatments and approaches to find the best ones for your child. Knowing there are things that can help your child may boost your self-confidence and his.