View Full Version : Executive functioning impairments

04-26-2012, 12:04 AM
Although I know this is often a part of other special needs diagnoses, does anyone have experience with having this diagnosis without it being part of another one (if that even makes sense)?

Or even if it is related to a more primary diagnosis, can anyone share the best ways to improve executive functioning impairments in kids?

04-26-2012, 12:12 AM
I don't have experience with this as a diagnosis, but these books are pretty popular on the dyslexia board I belong to and on Well Trained Mind:


I haven't checked them out myself but a lot of people seem happy with them from what I have read.

04-26-2012, 03:05 PM
Executive functioning impairement is not currently recognized officially as a stand alone diagnosis but I am sure there are clinicians who diagnose it as a stand alone.

I think that the key to improving the executive skills deficits in children is very explicit teaching of organizational strategies. It can be challenging for an adult who is naturally very adept in executive skills to do this because you have to break down things that seem obvious to you but they are not obvious to a child with deficits in this area. I think modeling good organization and problem solving will help too. If you are not organized, become so. Target two areas to work on at a time and explicitly teach the skills/strategies that your child needs to learn. Expect it to take time. Expect to have to reinforce approximations of the goal behavior (i.e., praise for remembering to use the planner to write down some of the homework even if he forgot to write down one assignment as writing down some of it is a lot better than writing down none of it). Use a scaffolding approach in teaching...do the organization for your child first but involve them while you do it and slowly remove the supports while remaining supportive. Instill routines where ever you can and avoid deviating from them (i.e., for homework completion--at this table, at this time, every day...). Explain your own use of executive skills when possible in real life terms (i.e., explain how problem solved something that went wrong or explain how prioritized or used time management in a difficult situation). Expect some regression and be gentle (not saying that you're not!) as when executive skills come naturally, it is very easy to become frustrated by a child for whom they do not come naturally.

Dawson and Guare and big authors in this field and there is a lot of good reading for lay people on the topic. Here are some good books:


Martin Kutscher is a pediatric behavioral neurologist and has a good book on the topic:

04-27-2012, 08:02 AM

Another recommendation for the Smart but Scattered book.

04-28-2012, 12:21 AM
Thank you!

04-28-2012, 12:33 AM
Can I ask another question, especially of those who have posted already in terms of the book recommendations. One really interesting thing is dd is actually okay with organization, its other executive functions that are the most challenged such as initiation, emotional regulation, shifting, and inflexible thinking including generating alternative problem solving strategies, sustained/joint attention, and putting it all together enough to follow multiple rules at the same time. I was just wondering if you would recommend the same books given this, as there seems to be a lot of focus on organization in the ones recommended. I do already have Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents and Lost, Late, and Unprepared.

I really would love a book that had strategies related to the sub-categories mentioned above as well very specific checlists for staying on task at school and other school related issues. The books I have contain some of this, but I would like more.

04-28-2012, 07:47 PM
IIRC, Scattered has different subgroups and strategies for each.