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Have you heard the term executive functions? There are many of them, but in a nutshell, they’re skills we all need to be successful in life.

Some executive-function skills relate to time and task management:

  • organization
  • planning
  • prioritization
  • goal-directed persistence
demystifying executive-function deficits

Some are aspects of self-regulation:

  • impulse control
  • emotional control
  • flexibility
  • metacognition

And others impact both areas:

  • task initiation
  • sustained attention
  • working memory

Who struggles with executive functions

As you might suspect, kids with ADD have a lot of difficulty with these skills; however, many other children struggle with them as well. Some kiddos are battling anxiety disorders and/or clinical depression, some are intellectually “gifted” (who often don’t exhibit evidence of these skill deficits until middle school or high school), and others are twice exceptional (2e) or multi exceptional (3e, 4e).

Skills like planning, organization, flexibility and impulse control, help position kids for academic success. They're also important for “the social world.”

In addition to positioning kids for academic success, executive-function skills are important for “the social world.” That’s why I’m excited to hear that social competencies guru Michelle Garcia Winner is offering a free executive functions webinar Wednesday, Feb. 5.

It’s called “Demystifying Executive Functions: What They Are and How to Teach Them.” There will be a Q&A at the end, but if you can’t attend the live event, don’t worry. Everyone who registers for the webinar will receive a link to the recording a few hours after it airs.

Another reason it matters

Simply understanding this topic will go a long way in helping kids who struggle with these types of skills.

Let’s do everything we can to help them feel confident and capable, instead of “lazy,” “not living up to their potential,” and like hopeless failures. As adults who grew up with executive-function deficits often say, these were the types of messages they heard as kids. After a while, it’s also what they told themselves, even though they knew they were trying – harder, in fact, than many of their peers.

Get more details on the free webinar >