Which Students Benefit from Support to Develop Executive Function Skills?
The answer to this question is simple – all students. We all have executive functions that don’t fully stop developing until our mid twenties. Childhood and adolescence presents an opportunity to embed strong skills early on. However different children need more support than others.
All students can benefit from understanding about executive skills, how their brains work, how it affects their learning and behaviour and how they can use this information to revise, complete homework and manage everyday life. There are some groups of students though for whom more intensive support to develop good executive skills can be really beneficial.
These children and young people with executive skills challenges are often bright and able, but just can’t manage their daily lives. These children are often seen as lazy and unmotivated and adults become increasingly frustrated by their apparent difficulty in doing the ‘basic things’ in life. Problems with task initiation, time management, planning and organisation, shifting and task monitoring can have a significant impact both academically and behaviourally. The result can be a young person who is isolated from adults around them and achieving well below their potential in school.
There is also a well established link between poverty and executive function deficits, which can translate into students experiencing the challenges described above and also displaying behavioural issues linked to the executive function, inhibitory control. Therefore, children from low socio-economic status backgrounds can benefit from additional support to strengthen their executive function skills.