By Maxine E. Van Doren, M.S., CCC-SLP
Executive Function refers to a set of self-management skills including goal creating, planning, prioritizing, problem solving, and self-monitoring.
Problems with executive function may impact your child’s language skills, academics, and/or social skills. With treatment, your child can acquire the tools to meet life’s varying demands. Following through with treatment recommendations at home helps your child learn to apply these skills in different environments.
One way to address basic executive function skills in the home is to begin with goal creation and planning in fun, motivating activities. For young children, try asking them what they are going to make before playing with playdoh or the toy kitchen; this encourages goal creation and early planning. School-age children would benefit from activities that require multi-step planning such as cooking simple recipes (with adult help) or making crafts. Once your child has decided what to make (goal creation), guide them through each step of planning including collecting materials, identifying the steps necessary to complete the task, and estimating the amount of time needed.
Remember to have fun! Watching a goal (no matter how small) come to fruition may be a great source of pride and encouragement for a child who has difficulty completing tasks.