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Functioning {EF} skills are the skills we need to complete everyday tasks. They are like the air traffic controller of our brains, coordinating everything we do, say and think. 

We need executive function skills to pursue our goals and to live independent lives. This means it's our job to find better ways to master teaching executive function skills.





The most commonly noted executive function skills are:


  • Planning
  • Organization
  • Task Initiation
  • Time Management
  • Working Memory
  • Metacognition
  • Self Control
  • Attention
  • Flexibility
  • Perseverance


Love visuals? Try this handy Executive Functioning Skills poster. 



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  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Emotional Control
  • Impulse Control
  • Self Monitoring
  • Prioritizing
  • Decision Making
  • Perspective Taking


Wow! As you can see, there are A LOT of skills involved in Executive Functioning.


When a student is challenged in EF, is it any wonder that they would struggle both socially and academically?!


There are a lot of articles about the academic challenges related to EFD {Executive Functioning Disorder}. But for the purposes of this post, I will be focusing mainly on the implications EF challenges have on Social Skills.


Why Work On Teaching Executive Function Skills?


Besides the obvious, we should work on EF skills because students who struggle with EF, often get overlooked, misunderstood, or have inappropriately high expectations placed on them. 


It is very easy for us to have unrealistic expectations of neurodevelopmentally different young children, because we often can’t see the disability. These kiddos behavior is often mistaken by the classroom teacher for defiant, rude or disrespectful behavior.


Experts such as Dr. Russell Barkley suggest that kids with ADHD, for example, are 30% younger in their executive functions skills.


Therefore, it is vitally important that we set put into daily practice to set expectations in different ways based on developmental age, not, chronological age. 



How Do EF Challenges Affect Our Students Socially?


  • Challenges working in pairs or groups
  • Challenges sharing spaces and materials with others
  • Challenges remembering information such as names, birthdays, interests of peers
  • Challenges listening and engaging in conversations
  • Challenges inhibiting behavior
  • Challenges to focus attention
  • Challenges starting and stopping activities and games
  • Challenges when rules of games bend or change
  • Challenges being flexible with peers, giving in to what they want
  • Challenges finishing games or projects
  • Challenges being on time
  • Challenges problem solving
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Physical outbursts: grabbing, pushing, etc. 
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Giving up in the middle of a game/activity
  • Forgetting the directions of a game/activity
  • Slow to start, keeping peers waiting
  • Challenges with organization skills and study skills


And sooo much more!

 I hope this information helps you to support your special learners in an easy way to improve their executive functioning skills and in turn, their social situations and relationships.


Thanks So Much and Happy Teaching!

Cindy ~Socially Skilled Kid


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