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Executive functioning issues aren’t considered a disability on their own. They’re weaknesses in a key set of mental skills. And they often appear in kids with learning and attention issues.


Executive functions consist of several mental skills that help the brain organize and act on information. These skills enable people to plan, organize, remember things, prioritize, pay attention and get started on tasks. They also help people use information and experiences from the past to solve current problems.

Having issues with executive functioning makes it difficult to:

  • Keep track of time

  • Make plans

  • Make sure work is finished on time

  • Multitask

  • Apply previously learned information to solve problems

  • Analyze ideas

  • Look for help or more information when it is needed


Executive functioning issues can produce a wide range of symptoms. Depending on which skills your child struggle with the most, and the particular task she’s doing, you might see the following signs:

  • Finds it hard to figure out how to get started on a task

  • Can focus on small details or the overall picture, but not both at the same time

  • Has trouble figuring out how much time a task requires

  • Has trouble paying attention and is easily distracted

  • Loses a train of thought when interrupted

  • Needs to be told the directions many times

  • Has trouble making decisions

  • Has a tough time switching gears from one activity to another

  • Doesn’t always have the words to explain something in detail

  • Does things either quickly and messily or slowly and incompletely

  • Finds it hard to incorporate feedback into work or an activity

  • Sticks with a plan, even when it’s clear that the plan isn’t working

  • Needs help processing what something feels/sounds/looks like

  • Isn’t able to think about or do more than one thing at a time

  • Remembers information better using cues, abbreviations or acronyms

Please reach out to us if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing from you!

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