Many people with LD struggle with executive function, which can make activities like planning, organizing, strategizing, remembering details and managing time and space difficult. Problems with executive function—a set of mental processes that helps connect past experience with present action—can be seen at any age and often contribute to the challenges individuals with LD face in academic learning.
What is executive function, and how it is related to children with learning disabilities? How does executive function affect learning? What are the warning signs? Dr. Horowitz answers these questions, and more, in this Ask the Expert video. More >
Executive function is a set of mental processes that helps connect past experience with present action. People use it to perform activities such as planning, organizing, strategizing, paying attention to and remembering details, and managing time and space.If you have trouble with ex... More >
Remember the day when someone rattled off a phone number while you just hoped against hope you’d recall the string of digits as you were dialing? That was working memory toiling away. With the advent of cell phones, you may no longer use it this way very often. But working memory s... More >
Does your child have a weakness with verbal (auditory) or visual-spatial working memory? If so, you may find that it is greatly interfering with academic achievement. Fortunately, there are many ways to help—from teaching ways to compensate to lifestyle changes to brain-training tec... More >
I have often written about learning strategies, and how important it is to help students become “strategic” in their approach to learning, and I discussed some ways that teachers can promote student learning by both teaching and reinforcing the use of effective strategies to the... More >
As the parent of a school-age child with learning disabilities (LD), you know that basic patterns of thought such as controlling impulses, flexibility, planning, and organizing must steadily develop and improve as a child advances in school. If they don’t, children fail in small way... More >
Mike’s performance has been unpredictable all year! He is so bright and creative and his teachers report that he participates in classes. However, homework is a daily battle that I dread. Mike’s teachers recently told me that he is often late with papers and projects and that he i... More >
Motivation problems are often one part of executive dysfunction. Here are some proven techniques that work well for motivating any child, especially one who struggles with executive function. Praise That MotivatesDecades ago, the self-esteem movement made a wrong turn when it came to ... More >
Lazy, apathetic, stubborn. Do you ever think of your child in this way? If so, chances are your child has trouble getting started and procrastinates with homework or other projects. You may be asking yourself, “What kind of kid am I raising?”Don’t be too quick to pin a lack of m... More >
I try to help Jan with her homework, but she gets frustrated when I show her an approach that may not be the same as the way she was taught in school. She gets stuck doing things over and over so that homework drags on for hours. (Parent of 6th grader)Cognitive flexibility, or the abi... More >
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most frequently occurring brain-based disorders. It most often manifests itself in childhood and continues to pose challenges throughout adolescence and into adulthood. Its symptoms most often include difficulty getting and... More >
In the business world, we think of “executives” as people whose role it is to make decisions, guide actions, provide feedback and lead others to positive outcomes. In the world of teaching and learning, the word “executive” can take on a similar meaning, especially when we tal... More >
My child doesn’t seem able to read body language. He often misunderstands how other people are reacting to him.My teen has regular meltdowns, even when minor things go wrong. My child is forever getting time-outs for disrupting the classroom by calling out, interrupting and refusing... More >
Zach never proofreads. I have to remind him to check his homework every night and I feel like a broken record! No matter what I say, his work is still filled with careless mistakes. When he has a math test, he seems to understand the concepts perfectly, but he gets so many answers wr... More >
Emily is a scattered child. She loses things all the time and is always late in the morning because she cannot find her books or her gym shoes. Last week, she missed a field trip because she forgot to hand in the permission slip and could not even find it in her locker or backpack. I ... More >
Children are expected to mature cognitively and emotionally as well as physically. Generally, as children grow older, their executive function skills like planning, organizing, strategizing and self-monitoring improve. But many children with learning disabilities (LD) and ADHD lag beh... More >
If you’d just get organized! How can you find anything in here?The report is due tomorrow? And you haven’t started it?How could you forget to turn in your homework? I helped you with it!What’s one thing that makes for a parent’s unhappy day? Getting a phone call or email from... More >
If your child has trouble making friends and relating to other kids, executive dysfunction may be to blame. Social skills, just like academic skills, often must be taught explicitly—especially to children who struggle with them. Here are some ideas to help you help your child. Probl... More >
For generations, we were told that raising children in two languages would leave them “confused.” The idea was that children would learn slower, learn less and generally be less successful if they were tasked with learning two languages instead of just one. This folk wisdom often ... More >
Here are nine key terms and phrases doctors and other professionals use to describe executive functioning skills and the way your child thinks and learns.
The many different ways your child’s brain automatically makes sense of things. When experts refer to cognition o... More >
If your child has executive functioning issues, you know how real these issues are—and how big an impact they can have. Whether you’re new to the topic or not, though, you might have trouble separating fact from fiction. Here are five common myths about executive function, put to ... More >
Working memory, also known as short-term memory, is an executive functioning skill that is key to learning and everyday life. If you suspect your child might have working memory issues, this quiz may give you some solid clues. Read the questions below and keep track of how many times ... More >
At a Glance
Self-monitoring is a skill used to keep track of your own actions and performance.
People use self-monitoring to help with all kinds of activities, from frying an egg to solving a math problem.
Kids with weak self-monitoring skills can benefit from using check... More >