Ask the Horizons Team: Do you have any resources or strategies on dealing with “executive function problems”?
My 9-year-old son has a lot of what professionals have told us are “executive function problems”. He is very unorganized, has difficulty planning and sequencing things, forgets even simple directions, and doesn’t have any sense of time. I understand that this is all part of his ADHD diagnosis, but we just don’t seem to be getting anywhere with improving these areas. Is there a book or other resource you can recommend so my husband and I can get more information on executive function problems and strategies that can help?
Noreen in Madison, Wisconsin
Great question! You are not alone in dealing with these issues, as most of the families we see here at Horizons struggle with the same things. One of my favorite books on the topic of executive function skills is Smart But Scattered: The Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential by Peg Dawson and Richard Guare. This book provides clear information on what executive functions are, how they develop throughout childhood, and the various deficits children can have in these areas. The authors also provide many practical strategies and ideas for parents and professionals to address weaknesses in executive function skills. Another resource you may find helpful is the workbook See It. Say It. Do It! Organize It! By Beth Fishman-McCaffrey, Patricia Dunnigan, and Lynn Helerstein.
Addressing executive function deficits is a process, and doesn’t happen overnight. Use these resources to find some strategies that will work for your child and family, and be prepared to implement them consistently in order to see results. Let me know how things are going for you!