What is Executive Functioning?

“Just 9 minutes of viewing a fast-paced television cartoon had immediate negative effects on 4-year-olds’ executive function. Can you imagine how many hours of fast-paced video games impacts executive functioning?”

– Angeline Lillard, PhD and Jennifer Peterson, BA

 

  • Get-ReadyExecutive functioning is the organizational aspect of sensory processing, or the library of our brain.
  • Children with underlying sensory processing difficulties frequently will struggle with these higher level organizational abilities, which is not surprising given the difficulties organizing and integrating the incoming sensory information from the seven senses.
  • Some manifestations of executive functioning challenges include: difficulty shifting attention, difficulty initiating/prioritizing/completing work, difficulty with flexible thinking, difficulty organizing actions and tasks to demonstrate skills, difficulty with generalization, and difficulty with decision-making and problem-solving.
  • At any age, efficient executive functioning can be supported through direct instruction, visual supports, explicit feedback, organizational aids, task breakdown/‘chunking’, and sequencing through the use of numbers or pictures, visual schedules, and time organizers.
  • Executive functioning abilities are end product skills, secondary to each individual’s sensory processing and overall learning profile.

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