What are Executive Skills?

Executive Skills, also called executive functions, are the habits of mind that allow us to select, plan for and achieve goals and solve problems that arise such as planning, time management and goal-directed persistence. Executive Skills determine school success much more than academic intelligence and grow over time.

Some research suggests that we don’t fully develop our executive skills until between ages 25-30! Research also shows that students with learning challenges are typically two years behind their peers in executive functioning, and this impacts school performance. After all, no matter how good your work is, if you don’t hand it in on time, your grade won’t reflect your true achievement. For these reasons, we focus on creating and practicing executive skills that complement school success.

Peg Dawson and Richard Guare’s book, Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents identifies two categories of executive skills:  thinking skills that help us select and acheive goal/s and/or solve problems related to the goal/s and those that involve persisting towards achieving the goal/s.

Goal Selection Skills:

  • planning and prioritizing
  • organization
  • time managment
  • working memory
  • metacognition

Goal Persistence Skills:

  • response inhibition
  • emotional control
  • sustained attention
  • task initiation
  • flexibility
  • goal directed persistence
  • metacognition

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