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Executive Functioning Skills - Is it too late to help?


Replies to: Executive Functioning Skills - Is it too late to help?

  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 75,605 Senior Member
    I have worked with kids on organization. I have to say...it’s important for the student to have an investment in the type of organization used. This kid might not benefit from multiple notebooks with pockets. Maybe he would prefer one notebook, or some other organizational system. What we think might work for someone else...just might not.

    Some folks are just well organized...and some are not. Some make lists. Some keep everything in their heads. Some use their phones for notes and reminders. Some would hate that. Some keep online calendars, and some benefit from an old fashioned written calendar.

    Some do better with verbal reminders. Some do better with spoken reminders. Some do better with written reminders.

    I think a good coach can help this student find a system that will work for the student. It might be a trial and error effort.
  • jazzymomof7jazzymomof7 Registered User Posts: 256 Junior Member
    edited May 14
    Where would we start looking to find him a coach? I think a coach could help fill the role I’ve been filling until he can find a good system and build up habits/skills?
  • jazzymomof7jazzymomof7 Registered User Posts: 256 Junior Member
    @Cardinal Fang That is helpful. When you state it in terms of him not being able to hold multiple ideas in his head, it makes sense. It actually explains some other behaviors, too. Thanks for sharing!
  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff Registered User Posts: 2,926 Senior Member
    @jazzymomof7. What you just described your son to me sounds like Adhd with some executive functioning (please everyone don't jump on me here). Like classic Adhd. Have you ruled this out? Now some of the tactics are the same as @thumper1 described for both. I totally need my phone with set reminders and lists. I actually just use the Google calendar and just put everything I need for each day on that and get notifications for my daily tasks. Even if I go shopping to the store it's just easier for me to list everything there.

    Some like apps like this, https://myhomeworkapp.com/

    There are a lot of these just by doing searches.

  • millie210millie210 Registered User Posts: 544 Member
    A friend of mine has a daughter about to graduate high school. She has executive functioning problems not related to any other diagnosis. A few months ago, she began working with a coach who has been extremely helpful, although it is definitely a process and the help will continue into college. If you have some money to throw at this, a professional is an excellent resource. I think the best way to find someone good is to call on your communities for recommendations, eg, friends around town, people you know from home schooling, people at church/synagogue/mosque, the appropriate office at the community college, etc.

    FWIW, I know two things about the approach of the coach I mentioned. She only deals with one or two things at a time. It’s too much to try to change everything at once. And she’s very big on routines and consistency. The coach helps her figure out (or just gives her) a system or routine for a task and then the idea is that she does it that way every time.
  • WellspringWellspring Registered User Posts: 1,410 Senior Member
    edited May 15
    It was a revelation to me when someone suggested that I give my son a monthly calendar and work with him on his schedule for the month and I realized the concept of a month makes no sense to him. Unless we discuss each day to come the day before he cannot plan. It's real and he's not going to grow out of it.
  • tutumom2001tutumom2001 Registered User Posts: 1,144 Senior Member
    @jazzymomof7 How did my daughter turn up as your son? I could have written this post.
  • zoosermomzoosermom Registered User Posts: 26,240 Senior Member
    My son was the same way in high school and I seriously considered a year of community college, but ultimately decided against it. He is now a rising senior. For him, he was so insanely busy in high school that coming into college with only four classes a semester was like a vacation. He scaled back a lot to only activities he was really committed to, so they were not a burden. That really helped.

    We did a few things, which may or may not work for anyone else. First, we encouraged him to read his syllabi before the semester started as if it were a magazine article so he could understand the overview and get in his head the general feel of what each class would be like. Then we had him highlight through the syllabus anything that was important or that he might miss. On move in day of freshman year, I personally posted those highlighted syllabi right next to his desk where he couldn't miss them. He did it for himself every other semester. I then reminded him regularly that semester to read the syllabi at least once a week and put in the front of his brain what was coming up. He found this so helpful that I never had to bother him again because he is now absolutely convinced that if he is completely familiar with the syllabus in a particular class, he will be fine.

    Since I had misgivings, I made a visit to the academic services office a condition of going away. They have seminars, webinars, videos, and professional who meet with students to help them find the best way to organize. They were very helpful and it left me out of the process. His support person checked with him weekly that semester, and he chose to visit again in junior year on his own. I also followed his grades carefully that first semester because I just wasn't sure we were making the right decision. But it really turned out fine and I was able to step out after that semester, although I still expect to be informed of final semester grades as a condition of continuing to pay tuition. He understands that he is not entitled to our money, and if the GPA is not at a certain level he will come home. We mean it and he knows that.

    My son got a job on campus in his department and it's a responsible job with skills that will translate into permanent employment. He was excited and grateful to get this job, which gave him a further skin in the game of being more responsible. He came home from this past semester with a thank you note from the director saying how much she appreciates his follow through, willingness to step in, and his attention to detail. I swear to you that I framed that thing and hung it up in my dining room.

    So I guess what I'm saying is that you should help him commit to the syllabi, be willing to really oversee for the first semester (despite what other parents may say), and encourage him to be willing to accept the professional services offered by the college. Those things can really help. Good luck!
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 31,913 Senior Member
    I've never been good at planners for any length of time. I finally seem to have hit a system that works for me. It's called the Bullet Journal. I'm a grown up and self employed, so it's largely for my business, but I see students using it too. What I like about it is that your write everything down. While there is a basic structure, I think the key is spending five or ten minutes every day review task list and writing everything you want to do that day (or the next day if you do the review at night.) The basics are here: https://bulletjournal.com/pages/learn You don't have to buy Ryder's book or the notebook. You can turn any notebook into a bullet journal though I recommend one that is 5"x7" so it's easy to carry around with graph paper or gridded dots so it's easy to be neat. This is also fun to watch: https://bulletjournal.com/blogs/bulletjournalist/bullet-journal-for-adhd
  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 Registered User Posts: 1,629 Senior Member
    DD has had a lot of success using the SOAR organization system. The same system works from elementary school through college. You don't have to buy their system. It is easy to assemble what you need on your own. The book, however does a great job explaining it.
  • jazzymomof7jazzymomof7 Registered User Posts: 256 Junior Member
    @tutumom2001 It has been a huge relief for me to hear that other students have struggled with this, too, and have found ways to be successful.

    @zoosermom I hadn’t thought of having him go thru the syllabi before move in day. I’ll do that with him and have him post them up so they won’t get lost. I’ll also ask him for access to the portal, just so I can oversee things until I’m sure he has it under control.

    I found out his school has a peer coaching program where you meet with a coach once a week to help with organization, etc. If he can’t get into the program, we’ll definitely hire a private coach. I feel it will be worth the money if it can help him get thru school successfully.

    I’m going to order some of thr recommended books, as well.

    Thanks, all! I appreciate all of the supportive responses and btdt advice.
  • MeddyMeddy Registered User Posts: 474 Member
    @taverngirl I'm interested in the idea of a coach via skype. How did you find the one you have and what kind of results are you seeing if you don't mind me asking.
  • Cardinal FangCardinal Fang Registered User Posts: 18,123 Senior Member
    I found a coach for my son by looking for tutors. The person I found advertises herself as a writing tutor for high school students, and indeed she is that, but she also works with my son on organization and planning. She meets with him once a week or so, and texts with him every day to check that he's on target.

    Really, being a coach is not a job that requires a lot of training. What you want, really, is someone who's kind of a nudge and busybody in real life.
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