Lesson Four: Difficulties with Executive Functioning Skills

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We all have our strengths and challenges when it comes to our executive skills, but what happens when there are difficulties beyond the normal challenges? Remember when children were diagnosed with ADHD before?

What were the words you would use to describe them? Distracted? Disorganized? Unfocused? Impulsive? Are you seeing a pattern?

Are you seeing a pattern?

Most students diagnosed with ADHD have executive skill weaknesses. These weaknesses can also be found in students who have depression or other learning disabilities. Brain damage and stroke can cause weaknesses as well. Problems with executive functioning may run in families, so if you’re a parent, you may notice your child has similar issues to your own.


  1. Read one or more of the articles about signs of executive functioning difficulties.  They are divided by age group.
  2. In the E-Book Executive Function 101, read pp. 7-9 entitled, “Executive Function Around the Clock,”
    1. As a teacher, you see kids like Josh often. These students may be  described as lazy, unmotivated, and forgetful. These are the students who have done their homework, but forget to turn it in despite the teacher asking for it that very morning. These are students who save long-term projects until the last minute. These are the students who don’t handle change well.
  3. Think about some of the students you have worked with in the past who you think may have had weaknesses in executive functioning.
    1. In 250 words or more, describe one of these students.  You may want to:
      1. List out his/her challenges
      2. Share any new thinking or ideas you have for working with this student or type of student.


Ferrari Engines, Bicycle Brakes : Advice to educators about how to help students with ADHD fulfill the potential of their powerful brains.

Executive Function 101

Executive Function 101 is a free e-book from founding partner the National Center for Learning Disabilities. Download the e-book to find out what executive function is and how it impacts kids with learning and attention issues. This e-book also includes an illustration of a day in the life of a child with executive functioning issues.

Download Executive Function 101 (Free)



Course FlipBoard (Free)


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One Comment

  1. Hi Lori:
    For lesson #4 – Assignment #1 is “Read one or more of the articles about signs of executive functioning difficulties. They are divided by age group.” Where do I go for these? Course Flip book? _Kate

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