All children and adolescents require executive function skills to be effective and independent learners and to manage themselves in all facets of daily life.
Executive Function skills include:
Planning Being able to create a roadmap to complete a task. Planning also incorporates prioritizing and decision-making.
Organization The ability to design and maintain strategies and systems for keeping track of belongings and information.
Time management The capacity to estimate time accurately, how to allocate it, and how to stay within time limits and prioritize deadlines.
Working memory Holding information in mind while performing multi-step tasks. Drawing on past experience and applying it to current and future situations.
Metacognition Self-awareness and self-understanding – essentially the ability to “think about one’s thinking.”
Response inhibition The capacity to think before you act, or to resist the urge to say or do something in the moment.
Emotion regulation The ability to manage emotions in order to control and direct behaviour.
Sustained attention Being able to attend to a situation or task despite fatigue, boredom or distraction.
Task initiation The ability to begin a task in a timely manner, without excessive procrastination.
Task completion The capacity to follow through on goals and responsibilities, and not being put off by other demands or competing interests.
Cognitive flexibility Being able to revise plans or thinking patterns in the face of new information or setbacks – being adaptable in the face of change.
Executive function (EF) coaches at the Red Oak teach concrete, functional strategies to help children and adolescents become more organized. They tutor them to become better planners, to initiate and prioritize tasks, and to manage time. EF coaches also clarify strategies for improving self-monitoring and thinking more flexibly. Our executive functioning coaches are all either teachers with Master’s of Education degrees, or the equivalent in additional qualifications, or Speech Language Pathologists.
Individual coaching sessions are tailored to an individual’s learning style and needs, and benefit children and adolescents with or without an identified deficit in executive functions. Sessions are 50 minutes long and include materials, tools and resources to support children and adolescents at home, in school and in the community. Parents are encouraged to incorporate strategies at home, are given the opportunity to ask questions and encouraged to provide input.