Executive functioning skills help us plan, organize, make decisions, shift between tasks, and control our emotions and impulsivity. As your child grows, they continue to develop these skills. However, some children need more support than others, especially if they have a diagnosis that often has difficulties with executive functioning, like ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Depression, or Anxiety. Children who have challenges with executive functioning may seem more disorganized than their same-age peers. They may lose their schoolwork or have trouble completing their schoolwork on time. Here are a few strategies you can use to support your child:  

  1. Assist with Organization: Help your child organize their class materials by labeling folders, labeling tabs in binders, organizing their backpack, and organizing their workspace at home. Help them identify predetermined spaces to store their materials. 
  2. Breaking Down Tasks into Smaller Steps: This will help with task initiation and planning. Develop a timeline for the completion of each step and write it out for your child to reference.  
  3. Use Checklists: Help your child identify and prioritize the work they need to get done using a checklist. This will help with time management, multitasking, and prioritizing. 
  4. Using Self-Regulation Strategies: Help your child maintain focus by incorporating movement breaks into their work time. 
  5. Use a Visual Timer: This will help your child understand estimated time for the task as they work toward attending to a task before taking a break. 
  6. Set Up the Environment for Success: Maintaining a clutter free workspace is a great way to reduce visual distractions. Reduce auditory distractions as much as possible to provide your child a quiet space to work. 

While these strategies are helpful, a traditional classroom environment is not for everyone. We developed Merlin Day Academy for children that need a more supportive learning environment. Merlin Day Academy provides special education in a unique, sensory integrated therapeutic environment for children ages 6-14 with neuro-diverse learning needs including those with autism, down syndrome, and intellectual, learning, or emotional disabilities. Our sister company, Eyas Landing’s therapists, provide occupational therapy, applied behavior analysis (ABA), developmental therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, language therapy, nutrition, and feeding therapy services to Merlin Day Academy students to provide them with an ideal environment for learning.