Executive Functions

  • Inhibition – The ability to regulate one’s own actions at the optimal time, including stopping actions and thoughts.
  • Shift – The ability to transition fluidly from one situation to another and to think flexibly in order to respond appropriately to the situation.
  • Emotional Control – The ability to modulate emotional responses by using rational thoughts 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.

Executive functions are fundamental to success and a child may develop certain skills more naturally than others. For elementary students these skills are only beginning to develop, but with appropriate modeling, structure, and tracking, these skills can become tools a child will use to be prepared for middle school. The general middle school program involves maintaining current strengths while continuing to improve on others that are required for a smooth high school transition. Mastery of these skills are essential by the end of high school since college will be much less structured compared to their previous academic experiences. Executive functioning programs are tailored to each student, developing strengths and an understanding of the value of each skill, to promote independence and confidence in their future endeavors.