Executive Functions 101
What ARE Executive Functions and Executive Function Skills?
Read on below to learn more about each area of executive functioning:
Organization refers not only to how we manage our things (papers, materials, spaces) but also how we sort and store information and how we maintain these routines.
Individuals who have difficulty organizing may experience
- lack of awareness of assignments
- difficulty finding necessary items/loses supplies
- messy room or backpack
- losing or not turning in work
- no system for managing school work
refers to how we generally understand the passage of time (what does 5 minutes really FEEL like?) as well as how we manage and choose to use that time.
refers to how we lay out and manage everything that we need to do in our lives and school work, and how we make time for and see all of the details and moving parts.
Task Analysis, Initiation and Completion
refers to how we look at and break down tasks into steps, how we decide what needs to be done and then how we go about getting started and carrying out all of these steps until we reach completion. This is the what, when and how in everything we do.
Synthesis of Information/ Academic Skills
refers to how we take large amounts of information or smaller components and make connections so that we can integrate and apply the information in other contexts. refer to our ability to carry out tasks and processes necessary for academic success, which encompass most of the executive function skills mentioned on this page and also includes learning appropriate and effective study skills and techniques.
Attention, Focus and Working Memory
our ability to hold attention on tasks, conversations and what is going on around us in addition to processing or actually thinking about what we see, hear and do. refers to our ability to hold information temporarily or recall information quickly that is meant to just be remembered for a very short time (ie. grocery list as we run into the store or what to grab from upstairs while heading out for the day).
Self Regulation/ Goal Directed Persistence
refers to how aware we are about ourselves and where we stand relative to our goals and expectations. refers to our ability to set, recognize and remember a goal as we plan and stay on track with carrying out the steps necessary to achieve them (including overcoming obstacles which are bound to present themselves along the way). Can we stick with it?
Behavior and Emotional Regulation
refers to how we manage and carry ourselves as well as how we adjust and respond to individuals and situations.