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How do Executive Function Skill Deficits Impact Your Child?

Students lacking effective executive function skills in working memory, prioritizing, organizing, sequencing, managing time and planning, attending, focusing, and initiating, controlling social emotional behaviors and impulses, and communicating, cognitive flexibility/shifting often experience significant learning and behavioral issues. These deficits tend to become exacerbated as your child matures and the demands of academic content and workload and use of appropriate social behaviors across a variety of settings increase. The increase in demands can result in your child experiencing the negative effects of the Downward Spiral (Strosnider & Sharpe, 2019, pp. 9-10) causing:

·      a poor self-esteem,

·      an unwillingness to focus and learn new academic content,

·      a dislike for reading and writing,

·      a display of impulsive and inappropriate behaviors in order to avoid an unpleasant task.

The good news is that executive function skill deficits can be improved through explicit strategy instruction even in middle school and beyond.  Parents can advocate for their child by making the school aware of their concerns about the student’s difficulties in any of the executive skills mentioned above. They may try addressing some of the concerns at home and alleviate stress for them and their child by utilizing technology.  The Can Due app for homework help has been found successful for many students. As students move through school to post-secondary, it is vital that parents, students and the school work together to give the student an opportunity for success.


Strosnider, R & Sharpe, V. (2019). The Executive function guidebook: Strategies to help all students achieve success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.


Content provided by Strosnider & Sharpe, www.instituteonexecutivefunctioning.com, authors of the EF Guidebook, Corwin, 2019.