What is Executive Function Dysfunction?

Executive Functioning in School-Aged Kids
If you’ve noticed that your child needs extra help with organization, gets overwhelmed easily,
needs assistance breaking down and solving larger problems or has difficulty with time
management and emotional regulation, they might be needing extra support with their executive
functioning skills.
Executive function encompasses a set of skills that we use everyday to help us think, act and
perform. These skills include: memory, emotional control, flexibility, time management, planning
and organization, metacognition, working memory, initiation and goal-directed thinking. Our
executive functioning enables us to plan and think ahead, organize materials and our thoughts,
make decisions and regulate our emotions. Having deficits in these areas may affect your child’s
school performance, social relationships and ability to complete tasks as independently as
possible.
Evidence-Based Interventions
There are various evidence-based interventions that have been shown to help strengthen
executive functioning including engagement in sustained aerobic exercise, mindfulness training
and working memory training programs.
Aerobic Exercise
High doses of aerobic exercise improves the functioning and processes within the prefrontal
cortex including with working memory, flexibility and creativity. Some studies have also down
that engagement in sports more than aerobic exercise alone may strengthening executive
functions and associated skills including sustained attention, self control and memory.
Mindfulness Practices
Mindfulness training works on focusing on the present moment and awareness of the body and
sensations. Practicing mindfulness has shown to improve self control and regulation, sustained
attention, working memory as well as being able to think metacognitively, or self monitor one’s
own thinking.
Working Memory Training
Various computer and non computerized games that target working memory have been shown
to support executive functions as well. Working memory is a part of short-term memory that
allows you to store information while accessing that information to complete a task or solve a
problem. When exercising this skill by completing working-memory focused training, it helps to
increase the capacity for memory storage and use and sustained attention, thus increasing
independence for completing tasks and solving problems.
If you suspect that your child may be having difficulty with executive functions, our therapists at
Dynamic Solutions Pediatric Therapy can assist by assessing your child in the various executive
functions and determine if there are areas in which your child would benefit from training and
support. At Dynamic Solutions, we will work withy our child to implement interventions and
create solutions and strategies to support their success at home, in school and in their preferred
activities.

https://childmind.org/topics/executive-functions/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3159917/

https://www.parallellearning.com/post/evidence-based-interventions-for-executive-functioning

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