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How to Detect if Your Child is Struggling with Executive Functioning

Does your child seem unorganized? Do they have difficulty focusing and remaining engaged in a task? Is it becoming a problem when it comes to their schoolwork and academic progress? If so, it could mean their executive functioning needs further development.

Signs of Executive Functioning Struggles

What might seem like a behavior problem you can solve through systems of consequences and rewards, may actually be an issue with a child’s expressive and receptive language skills – executive function challenges, being one of the indicators.

Children in elementary, middle, and high school are at risk of developing difficulties with executive functioning, verbal reasoning, auditory processing, and reading comprehension. If you are noticing that your child is struggling in school, it may be important to check further into their expressive and receptive language skills.

Indicators of Executive Function Issues

Child looking at book in the library

The best thing to do is look for signs/clues that indicate your child may be struggling with the skills listed above. Below are a few indicators of executive functioning issues:

  • Trouble communicating details in an organized manner
  • Trouble with sequencing steps and completing tasks
  • Struggle following directions or assignments that contain more than 2 step directions. 
  • Difficulty with memorization/recalling information from memory
  • Difficulty transitioning between tasks
  • Difficulty completing tasks
  • Trouble with sequencing steps and completing tasks

Language Skill Challenges Sometimes Present as Behavior Problems

When children struggle with these items, it might seem like they are unfocused, hyper, and extremely unorganized. How that presents, depending on age could be difficulty focusing and following directions. It may seem like they are “unruly.” They may become easily upset and have a “melt-down” (crying, yelling, hitting, or smacking.)

If you recognize this behavior or challenges in your child, an evaluation with a speech-language pathologist is an important next step. If it is an expressive and receptive language issue, an SLP can identify and target those areas of difficulty.

If you think your child might require intervention on improving their executive functioning, give our team a call today. We can start with an evaluation from a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist to determine a plan. 704-845-0561