Executive Functioning

What is Executive Functioning?

Executive Functioning acts as the “Command and Control Center” for our brain, and helps us manage many of the tasks that we complete in our daily lives.  For example, if we are going on a road trip, we use Executive Function to help us plan what needs to be packed; organize how things fit in the car; decide when and where to stop for gas and food; remember directions, etc.  Our Executive Function skills also help us manage our behavior and emotions, control impulses, and stay on task.

Executive Functioning is a developing skill for children and teenagers.  As their brains grow and as they practice these skills, they will get better and better!  Stay tuned to our web page for brain hacks that will help you support your child to develop these skills.


Areas of Executive Functioning:

  • Organization: The ability to make and to keep up with systems (such as for backpack, closet, planner, to-do list), to keep track of information and/or things.
  • Task Initiation: The ability to begin a task in a timely fashion, without procrastination
  • Planning: the ability to create a roadmap to reach a goal or to complete a task. It also involves being able to make decisions about what’s important to focus on and what’s not important.
  • Goal directed persistence: The  drive to follow a goal through to completion, and not be put off by other demands or competing interests.
  • Time management: The ability to estimate how much time one has, how to budget it, and how to stay within time limits and deadlines. It also involves a sense that time is important.
  • Working memory: The ability to hold information in mind while performing complex tasks. It includes the ability to draw on past learning or past experience to apply to the situation at hand or to project into the future.
  • Metacognition: The ability to stand back and take a bird's eye view of oneself in a situation. It is an ability to observe how you problem-solve. It also includes self-monitoring and self-evaluative skills (e.g., asking yourself, “How am I doing?” or “How did I do?”)
  • Response Inhibition: The capacity to think before you act. This ability to resist the urge to say or do something allows us the time to size up a situation and how our behavior might affect it.
  • Emotional Control (also called self-regulation): the ability to control emotions in order to achieve goals, complete tasks, or control and direct behavior
  • Sustained attention: The capacity to attend to a situation or task in spite of distractibility, fatigue, or boredom.
  • Flexibility: The ability to revise plans in the face of obstacles, setbacks, new information, or mistakes. It involves adaptability to changing conditions

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