The Importance of Teaching Executive Function Skills In The Classroom - Alpha School

The Importance of Teaching Executive Function Skills In The Classroom

Teaching Executive Function Skills In The Classroom

The role of executive function in the classroom is a current topic of interest among special education teachers and professionals. More often than not, children on the autism spectrum struggle with executive function processes and may even suffer from “executive function disorder.” Special education providers should be well-versed in the role of executive function in daily life, the signs and symptoms of executive function disorder, and how to incorporate executive function skills into the curriculum.

Understanding The Basics of Executive Function

Students who struggle with executive functions often do not perform as well academically in a classroom environment. However, this is not due to a deficit in intelligence and should not be treated as such. Executive functions take place in the frontal lobe and are responsible for:

●     Adaptable thinking/Planning
●     Self-monitoring/Self-control
●     Time management/Organization
●     Working memory

Our executive function development begins in early childhood and continues well into adulthood, so building a strong foundation is imperative for learning and mastering essential life skills.

Identifying Executive Function Disorder (EFD) and Weaknesses 

EFD goes beyond an inability to stay on task or focus and causes difficulty executing daily tasks. Although there are various causes of EFD, children who have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, learning disabilities, or are on the autism spectrum often have executive functioning weaknesses. Helping young children and adolescents overcome such obstacles is essential in a special education school curriculum. 

Incorporating Executive Function Skills and Learning Aids

Since children and adolescents with EFD often struggle with effective time management and organizational skills, having visual aids in the classroom can be a vital tool for staying on track, completing various tasks, and reaching designated goals. Other helpful learning aids and tactics include:

●     Incorporate written, oral, and visual instruction whenever possible
●     Make a daily schedule and refer back to it throughout the day
●     Use a step by step approach when it comes to completing specific tasks
●     Have sufficient time in between activities to allow for smooth transitions

Final note to parents

As a special education provider, utilizing the proper tools and learning aids is necessary to help children with special needs thrive in a classroom environment. These tools help students achieve academic success while also helping to improve the development of critical executive functions. Mindfulness is another approach that has recently gained more attention by showing promise to improve executive function in children.

john gonzalez supervisor of instruction Alpha School

Alpha School an private special education school in New Jersey

Our Mission at The Alpha School is to help all of our special needs students with the learning, social, language, and behavioral support they deserve. Our highly skilled staff are committed daily to helping each student to becoming the best they can while providing a safe and nurturing educational environment.

We would be more than happy to discuss your child’s specific needs and challenges, so please call us at 732.370.1150, or request a tour of Alpha School of Jackson, NJ located just minutes off of Route 9 and Route 195 in Ocean County.

— John Gonzalez, Principal-Alpha School, Jackson, NJ

About RKS Associates

At all the RKS Schools we pride ourselves in discovery the hidden treasures of all of our students. Our academic and support services are appropriately customized for a student unique and diverse needs so that they can reach their full potential.

Alpha School is part of special needs network of schools located in Monmouth, Middlesex and Ocean County New Jersey. Since 1980 the RKS Associates schools have been leaders in helping special needs helping students with various disabilities including autism, Down's syndrome, communication, learning, social, behavioral and emotional disabilities. The range of services RKS schools provide is academic instruction and speech, occupational and physical therapies. In addition to Life Skills, Technology, and a full complement of Support Services.

network of special ed schools in NJ
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