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Executive Function

Does your student consistently struggle to complete, or find, his school assignments? Does he/she express good understanding of the material but just can’t get started or see a project through to completion?

These characteristics are typical of executive dysfunction. In her book, Smart But Scattered, Dr. Peg Dawson defined Executive Functions as: “brain based skills that are required for an individual to execute or perform tasks.” These skills are “not to be confused with intelligence…….but rather an ability to organize output; deciding what to do when and controlling behavior to do it.” Executive function helps us to regulate our behavior, make good choices, change tactics when a plan isn’t working, and manage our emotions and behaviors to reach our goals.

In 2012, Dr. Russell Barkley, a well-respected executive function expert, said that students with executive function challenges need to “repeatedly practice self-monitoring, self-stopping, seeing the future, saying the future, feeling the future, and playing with the future to effectively plan and go toward the future.”

Executive Function at Cambridge School

The Cambridge School understands the significance of Executive Function and how crucial these skills are to your student’s success both in school and in life. The realization of the pervasive and strong impact of Executive Function on students’ future development as independent adults is critical to a successful educational program. At Cambridge School, we strive to provide our students with these critical skills.

Some examples of the types of practical skills targeted here at Cambridge include:
-Introducing and practicing the concept of feeling the passage of time
-Providing concrete strategies for time planning and management
-Improving the ability to plan and execute a multi-step task through to completion
-Practicing and applying specific organization strategies for backpacks, lockers, and study areas
-Improving situational awareness and self-regulation skills through the practice of “reading the room”

Below please find a series of short videos featuring Peg Dawson and our team of specialists discussing high interest questions regarding Executive Function.