What is Executive Functioning and why do I need a coach?
Maybe your child or adolescent has problems with getting ready and out the door for school in the morning? Or can’t seem to organize their desk, locker, and/or book bag? Or struggles to keep track of and appropriately complete their homework assignments? Or has a hard time getting started and cannot break down their large school projects into manageable steps, leaving them feeling overwhelmed and distracted by other demands on their time? Or struggles to pay attention and can’t seem to follow multi-step directions? Executive functioning coaching can help!
Executive functioning is a set of overlapping mental processes that constantly occur in the frontal lobe of the brain, allowing us to do what we need to do in our day-to-day comings and goings. When these processes work together well, we have the skills necessary to appropriately manage our attention, regulate our emotions, and modify our behavioral responses accordingly when we interact with others. Strong executive functioning also helps us to get started to do those things we want and need to do, allows us to keep track of what we are doing when we are doing it, promotes our ability to transition between different activities smoothly and modify what we are doing in the moment accordingly. Last but not least, strong executive functioning skills allow us to remember all those pesky details necessary to efficiently carry out and complete tasks, anticipate future events, and organize and plan activities in our everyday routines without becoming overwhelmed.
Children may initially begin to demonstrate executive functioning difficulties in their elementary to middle school years as this is when they are first called on to manage increasing schoolwork demands. Without proper intervention, executive functioning weaknesses become further pronounced in high school and college, as these individuals are now asked to navigate increasing complexity in their daily routines without a developmentally-appropriate skill set. Self-esteem can be negatively impacted as it becomes harder and harder for the child, adolescent, or young adult to keep up, often resulting in decreased motivation and failure to participate in necessary tasks and activities.
Executive functioning difficulties don’t just happen in school and they aren’t simply a “pediatric” problem!
Executive functioning deficits can impact anyone. They can and often run in families. Individuals may be genetically predisposed to weak executive functioning abilities, or they may not develop fully as a person matures, or they may become impaired at some point secondary to damage to the frontal lobe (i.e., concussion resulting from a sports injury or car accident). If you or your child, adolescent, or young adult are having difficulties managing responsibilities at home, navigating your day-to-day routines, organizing, tracking and using your time accordingly to do what you want and need to do, executive functioning coaching may be right for you.
If you or your child are struggling and/or feel overwhelmed when managing day-to-day demands, executive functioning coaching can help to develop the necessary skills to decrease stress and to promote success, participation, and satisfaction and quality of life. Our brains continue to develop throughout our lifespan! Regardless of age, executive functions can be strengthened or compensated within our everyday activities and routines.