Does Your Child Have Executive Dysfunction? Those Who Do Fall Behind in School


Executive Skills are a relatively unknown set of skills that are needed for ongoing school  success.  The group of learners who seem naturally endowed with executive skills are the traditional learners. From day one of grade school they independently begin developing the ability to: 

  1. allot enough time to complete term projects
  2. easily diagnose how and where their learning went wrong
  3. seek help when they need it
  4. know what their learning resources are
  5. get to test days well prepared
  6. plan ahead for  test and project due dates
  7. turn things in on time
  8. get through homework easily and efficiently
  9. prioritize learning tasks
  10. balance school life and extracurricular activities

The surprising things is that these traditional learners seem to develop these executive skills all  on their own without parents or teachers needing to guide them much.  This is because they have a predictable OptiKode where the Reading Modality is Dominant in their Functional Style and a lucky side-benefit of such a traditional OptiKode seems to be strong executive skills.

Non-traditional students by contrast are Reading Dormant in their OptiKode and poor executive functioning comes with their OptiKode. Unfortunately children with non-traditional OptiKodes have a double jeopardy - low interest in reading and poor executive skills.  This creates  huge challenges for them and their family.  

 An online assessment will easily help you identify what your child’s OptiKode is and most importantly what their Dominant 3 modalities are. Every child - and person -  has 3 Dominant and 2 Dormant modalities in their OptiKode.  Knowing what is Dominant for your  non-traditional child  is essential. With this knowledge you can then link the right tools and learning strategies to their Functional Style. This offsets the handicap they face being non-traditional learners in traditional school settings. It also  offsets their executive dysfunction by making learning feel easier and more natural, just like it feels for traditional learners. 

I teach parents how to help their children stay organized, create work plans, and to get good at time management.  These skills can be taught at any age and parents can quickly become effective teachers of these skills. There are many resources online and in bookstores which can help parents begin to understand the mechanics of executive functioning and how to help their children develop them. Two  good titles to search for to help your child improve their executive functioning skills are:

Late, Lost, and Unprepared: A Parents' Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning

Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary "Executive Skills" Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential

Here is a good video that speaks to what executive functioning is and why it is so important in your developing child.