Resources for ADHD

EF Skills by Age

Developmental Tasks Requiring Executive Function Skills

Children and teenagers are required to perform all kinds of skills that require executive skills. The list below describes tasks or behaviors that adults commonly expect children to be able to do in different age ranges (Dawson, Peg and Richard Guare. Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents. New York, NY: The Guilford Press, 2010. Print.).

Preschool

  • Run simple errands (e.g., “get your book from the bedroom”)
  • Tidy bedroom/playroom with assistance
  • Perform simple chores and self-help tasks with reminders (e.g., brush teeth, get dressed, clear dishes from table)
  • Inhibit behaviors: don’t touch hot stove, run into the street, take another child´s toy, hit, bite, push, etc.

Kindergarten – Grade 2

  • Run errands (two/three step directions)
  • Tidy bedroom/playroom
  • Perform simple chores, self-help tasks; may need reminders (e.g., make bed)
  • Bring papers to and from school
  • Complete homework assignments (20 minutes max)
  • Decide how to spend money/allowance
  • Inhibit behaviors: raise hand to speak, keep hands to self, don’t swear, follow safety rules

Grades 3-5

  • Run errands (may involve a time delay or greater distance, like going to a store or remembering to do something after school)
  • Tidy bedroom/playroom (may include vacuuming, dusting, etc.)
  • Perform chores that take 15-30 minutes (e.g., clean up after dinner, rake the leaves)
  • Bring books, papers, assignments to and from school
  • Keep track of belongings when away from home
  • Complete homework assignments(up to 1 hour maximum)
  • Plan simple school project such as a book report (select book, read book, write report)
  • Keep track of changing daily schedule (different activities after school)
  • Save money for desired objects, plan how to earn money
  • Inhibit & self regulate: behave when teacher is out of the classroom; refrain from rude comments, temper tantrums, bad manners

Grades 6-8

  • Help out with chores around the home, including both daily and occasional tasks (e.g., empty the dishwasher, raking leaves, shoveling snow); tasks may take 60-90 minutes to finish
  • Babysit younger siblings or for pay
  • Use a system for organizing schoolwork (incl. planner, notebooks)
  • Follow complex school schedule(changing teachers and changing schedules)
  • Plan and complete long-term projects: tasks to be accomplished and a reasonable timeline to follow; may require planning multiple large projects at the same time
  • Plan time, including after-school activities, homework, family responsibilities; estimate how long it takes to complete individual tasks and adjust schedule to fit
  • Inhibit rule-breaking in the absence of visible authority

Resources:

Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents, Second Edition: A Practical Guide to Assessment and Intervention by Peg Dawson and Richard Guare

Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential by Peg Dawson and Richard Guare

Late, Lost, and Unprepared: A Parents’ Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning by Joyce Eric-Kahn and Laurie Dietzel.

EF & ADHD

Executive Skills in Learning

“Executive function” is a term first used by neurologists and neuro-psychologists to describe a set of high-level thinking skills we need to get things done. The first researchers to try and describe this skill set were focused on people with impairments, like head injuries, and relating it to brain development. Work with children and teenagers who had sustained traumatic brain injuries revealed problems involving planning, organization, time-management, and memory. Inhibition and regulation of emotions was often weak.

More recently, executive skills have assumed a larger role in the explanation and treatment of ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder), and we’re seeing an increasing number of children and adolescents who seem to struggle in school because of weak executive skills, but don’t meet the diagnostic criteria for ADD/ADHD or other learning differences. 

We have found that  students can benefit from strategies designed to improve executive function while getting direct instruction and academic coaching.  We provide EF coaching in the context of our comprehensive reading intervention (i.e., we do not offer EF coaching as a stand-alone service).  Children learn and retain executive function strategies best when paired with meaningful academic instruction and intervention.

A List of Executive Functions

Here is a list developed by Drs. Gioia, Isquith, Guy and Kenworthy – a little different than the list you see in our scrolling window on the right (from Executive Skills in Children & Adolescents, P. Dawson & R. Guare, 2010)

  • Inhibition-The ability to stop one’s own behavior at the appropriate time, including stopping actions and thoughts. The flip side of inhibition is impulsivity; if you have weak ability to stoop yourself from acting on your impulses, then you are "impulsive."
  • Shift-The ability to move freely from one situation to an-other and to think flexibly in order to respond appropriately to the situation.
  • Emotional Control-The ability 10 modulate emotional responses by bringing rational thought to bear on feelings.
  • Initiation-The ability to begin a task or activity and to independently generate ideas, responses, or problem-solving strategies.
  • Working Memory-The capacity to hold information in mind for the purpose of completing a task.
  • Planning/Organization-The ability to manage current and future-oriented task demands.
  • Organization of Materials-The ability to impose order on work, play, and storage spaces.
  • Self-Monitoring-The ability to monitor one’s own performance and to measure it against some standard of what is needed or expected.

Read more . . .

Executive Skills by Age

Consultation

Consultation

Testing/Assessment/Screening/Consultation

While most of our clinical practice is Direct Instruction and Remediation, we are experts in the interpretation of psycho-educational evaluations.  We can do some educational testing, screening and benchmarking for language-based problems as well as design intervention programs based on testing results.  Some of the services we offer include:

  • Review the Assessment/Evaluation you already have.  Many of our clients already have a full PsychoEducational Evaluation, and have been referred to us for Intervention.  Others may have one from another City or State.  We can review and analyze your Evaluation, help you understand what it means, and make recommendations for Intervention based on your testing.
  • Help you determine if you need an eval.  We can make recommendations for additional testing if we think you need it.  Or we can do some testing ourselves depending on our availability and what you need or refer you to a competent provider.  Read more . . . What is an Evaluation, and Do I Need One?
  • Review other testing (like Normative tests given at school, or Benchmarking results) and recommend best-practices for intervention.
  • Review your IEP or 504 Plan and recommend best-practices for accomodations and school services.
  • For our existing clients:  answer questions about school placement (or refer you to an appropriate service), summer programs, and other support services.
  • Diagnose Dyslexia