Strategies for dealing with Executive Function Disorder

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By Lacey Sikora

Contributing Reporter

Disorganized backpack/ losing things

They should only carry what they absolutely need

• Clean out backpack every week (preferably before the weekend so there's no surprises!)

  Store all completed paperwork in a file drawer or file cube at home

Use Word or a Google doc for as much paperwork as possible (Google doc advantage: can print another copy at school if they forget it)

If losing math papers, take a cell phone photo of work in case they have to re-create it.

Copy any essentials that they need (e.g. chemistry reference guide) and keep one at home

Will the teacher let them email the work to them in addition to bringing a hard copy? (This will ensure teacher gets it/knows they did it while they practice turning it in.)

 

Getting homework done in a timely manner

Create a homework station 

Use a Time Timer®

Break up homework into chunks; have them tell you what their plan is

Allow 5-minute breaks about every 20-30 minutes, depending on age of child

Using a sour hard candy or munching on healthy snack can help them stay focused.

 

Forgetting what you need for school

Carry backpack to wherever homework is done. Put homework and books back in backpack when you're done.

Pack backpack the night before. This should include any sports bags, instruments, etc. Put it all by the exit door.

Use planner to confirm they have materials

If really struggling, can create a packing checklist

 

Teach time explicitly

Use Time Timer

Teach time through games

• Estimate time to get somewhere or do something

   What time should we leave?

  What was the actual time?

  How should we adjust next time?

 

Planning

Kids need to keep a planner.  It should include practices, lessons, doctor appointments, etc. 

If they hate writing "track practice" over and over, print mini labels of repetitive activities

Break tasks down into chunks

• Reading assignment: have them figure out how many pages they need to read each night to complete it before the deadline 

Long project

  Make a list of the steps required

  Plan due date of each step by starting when it's due and counting backwards

  Put these due dates in the planner

 

I can't find. . .

Get them in the habit of everything having a place and putting it there every time.

Things like glasses or cell phone that move, assign a landing place in each room

• You're more likely to remember where you set something if you: Look at the object as you set it down and say "cell phone on piano." (Visual-tactile-auditory memory)

Track suit washed and must go to school tomorrow: rule should be you walk it right now to the bag by the door, not Mom!

 

Messy Math

Turn notebook paper sideways to help line up columns 

Print ¼" or ½" grid paper for math homework (found online)

 

"Stop nagging me" —white board in central location, like kitchen

After first verbal reminder, parent writes reminder on white board

When child does it, they check it off so parent knows it was done and doesn't need to ask about it

Encourage student to also write down things to remember as well

 

SAY Connects is sponsored by the Good Heart Work Smart Foundation in partnership with Success for All Youth (SAY).  

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