12 days 18-19 · Special Education

Thinking outside the Box(ing Day)

On the second day of Christmas…

This diagram shows how delayed or impaired executive function (EF) can impact development and learning. Affected children and young people may be called ‘immature’, ‘lazy’, ‘naughty’ and ‘inconsistent’ to name a just a few. Our job as adults – parents or educators – is to stand in for EF. This might mean making sure routines are crystal clear, having visual reminders and sometimes providing timely prompts to avoid delays or escalation.

What’s important to realise, is that if we miss the signs, if we let our young people down, they can quickly find that situations get beyond their control.

If emotions are positive and stable, it can be easier to control impulses and remain flexible, but if too much pressure is placed on working memory or sequencing, and tasks become overwhelming, emotions and impulses can change quickly. And it’s inordinately harder to focus and complete a task once emotions become negative.

For more information on executive function, read the introduction, or check out the tab at the top of the page.

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