right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
GUEST STUDENT OF THE WEEK: Rohan is a freshman at Dartmouth (and loves it) having gotten in ED for the Class of 2023. He's here to debunk myths regarding admissions and student life at his school. ASK HIM ANYTHING!
Make sure to check out our May Checklists for HS Juniors and HS Seniors. Consult these quick resources to get you started on the process this month.
As we work to adjust to the current reality, make sure to check out these dedicated COVID-19 resources: our directory of virtual campus tours, our directory of extended deadlines, as well as the list of schools going test optional this fall.

Executive Functioning Skills - Is it too late to help?

jazzymomof7jazzymomof7 251 replies24 threads Junior Member
edited May 2019 in Parents Forum
DS19 is homeschooled, and though he has no trouble academically, he has relied on me to plan his weekly schedule. (I don’t think this is a homeschool issue, though, because my next 2 kids in line don’t need any help with planning/scheduling/organization.)

Last semester, ds took 2 dual credit courses (plus a few at home courses) and did well. This semester, he took 3 dual credit courses (plus at home stuff).

He did all the studying and coursework on his own, but I kept helping plan his weekly schedule and gave him reminders about little things. Around spring break, I started telling him how to plan his own schedule and backed off the reminding because I know he’ll have to do it on his own this fall.

His grades took a dive from 2 A’s and a B to 1 A, 1 B, 1 C.

He was doing things like finishing homework in time but not getting it turned in, losing homework, writing an A paper that became a C due to no works cited, forgetting to bring a calculator to a chem test, etc. I told him repeatedly over the past few weeks to check his syllabi and make notes of all assignments, due dates, and tests. Monday, he almost missed a final. A friend texted him, and he was able to get there in time to finish, but was 30 min late.

Last night, he came to tell me how disappointed he was with his performance and said he hoped he could learn to be organized. I asked him if he thought he needed another year of community college, and he said no.

I think he can get his act together, but I’m wondering if any of you know of any books or strategies I could pass along to help prepare him.

I never had trouble staying organized as a student, and my next 2 kids in line don’t have an issue with it either, so it’s hard for me to understand why ds struggles so much with this.
edited May 2019
64 replies
· Reply · Share
«134

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

  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU 14468 replies104 threads Forum Champion
    Maybe he isn't ready to take the training wheels off...maybe he needs more support at college...e.g., https://www.rit.edu/studentaffairs/ssp/
    · Reply · Share
  • happy1happy1 23821 replies2384 threads Super Moderator
    edited May 2019
    It is definitely not too late to improve on these skills. A couple of things my kids did to keep organized included:

    Calendar/Planner -- writing in deadlines, exams, homework etc. as well as social events. Both kids used this planner throughout college as there is plenty of space to write things down. https://www.ataglance.com/ataglance/browse/product?prodId=AY44 Your S might also create a monthly calendar to keep an eye on long term things as well -- you can get one to put on a desk which doubles as a blotter - for example: https://www.staples.com/desk+blotter+calendar/directory_desk+blotter+calendar

    Color coding - my kids used 1 inch binders for each subject. Different colors for each subject with a folder in the same color. It helped them keep notes/papers/handouts in one place.

    Handling long term assignments/large exams - Learning to create a timetable with interim goals/deadlines so all the work isn't left until the last minute.
    edited May 2019
    · Reply · Share
  • Erin's DadErin's Dad 33999 replies4656 threads Super Moderator
    That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week: Helping Disorganized and Distracted Boys Succeed in School and Life
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HTK8DYO/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    · Reply · Share
  • overbearingmomoverbearingmom 152 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Not all colleges expect great executive functioning, though I do think that it is not too late to continue working with him, and I plan on working with my son this summer after his freshman year. The other thing is, for my son, he had support, but within a few weeks, he was organizing at least his assignments and thinking ahead to what was due. I'm not sure of his methodology. He's across the country from me, so he by definition had to. As you see from my username, it's not easy for me to let go, but it has been so good for him.

    Is he on the spectrum? As previous poster mentioned, there is support at RIT, University of Denver, U of A and other schools. My son is at UCONN. You just need to google for either university support on the spectrum or executive functioning support to see which colleges may be a good fit, and an achievable school for him.
    · Reply · Share
  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6577 replies10 threads Senior Member
    Seconding That Crumpled Paper....

    Good strategies for students and their parents..
    · Reply · Share
  • jazzymomof7jazzymomof7 251 replies24 threads Junior Member
    @overbearingmom He’s not on the spectrum. No special needs that we’re aware of. He is headed to UT Austin this fall. I need to find out what kind of support they have available.
    · Reply · Share
  • taverngirltaverngirl 1599 replies45 threads Senior Member
    My son (finishing junior year) is doing executive functioning coaching via Skype. They are working with him on both academics and non academic stuff. He has ADHD diagnosis, though only recently diagnosed, and Interestingly I homeschooled through 7th. Wondering if part of the issue is because he never had to use those skills really until high school (though my daughter never had any issues and I homeschooled her as well). I never thought about the possible relationship. Anyway, if the books above don't work (they didn't for me - my son wasn't super receptive to my help) you could look into the coaching. It's only been about a month, but it does appear to be helping.
    · Reply · Share
  • jazzymomof7jazzymomof7 251 replies24 threads Junior Member
    @Cardinal Fang I didn’t mean it in terms of, “I can be organized, why can’t he?” I meant it in terms of, “I don’t understand why he struggles, so I am not able to help him effectively.”

    For instance, at the beginning of the semester, I got 3 spiral notebooks with pockets and labeled them for his 3 classes. I couldn’t figure out why chemistry notes were mixed up in the notebook labeled comp 2.

    Or when I ask him why he has a zero on a homework, and he says he had it done in time but didn’t get it turned in, I get confused as to how that happens. I know he did the work, but he can’t explain how it didn’t get turned in, and since I don’t understand, I don’t know how to help him fix it.

    I feel that if I better understood why this is hard for him, maybe I could help him come up with some strategies that work.
    · Reply · Share
  • jazzymomof7jazzymomof7 251 replies24 threads Junior Member
    edited May 2019
    @taverngirl I wonder about the homeschooling aspect, too. I think having more outside accountability a bit sooner might have forced him to work on these skills a little more.

    DS was not open to my helping him learn to be organized until he saw the effect on his grades when I stopped helping him with planning and organization. Now, he is at least motivated to learn.

    Coaching might be helpful to him. Thanks for the suggestion.
    edited May 2019
    · Reply · Share
  • ultimomultimom 245 replies3 threads Junior Member
    My kids started using agendas at school in third grade. Teaching executive function was part of the curriculum. Teachers would make sure students had time to write down their assignments. Kids were also coached on different strategies for organizing notebooks. By middle school, students were able to access assignments online. Then, by high school, you are on your own.
    · Reply · Share
  • Acadia2023Acadia2023 29 replies10 threads Junior Member
    Many schools offer assistance in this area - even if you're not on the spectrum/don't have a diagnosis showing need. Search school websites carefully and you may find that helpful services are available even at schools that don't have programs specifically geared for this. A friend of our family was an athlete at a relatively small LAC. Was overwhelmed his freshman year - trying to keep himself organized. He made arrangements to meet with someone (weekly) in the school's academic support ctr, and used the time to go over everything he needed to get done in the coming week. It was a lifesaver and he graduated la few days ago.
    · Reply · Share
  • Cardinal FangCardinal Fang 19342 replies161 threads Senior Member
    For instance, at the beginning of the semester, I got 3 spiral notebooks with pockets and labeled them for his 3 classes. I couldn’t figure out why chemistry notes were mixed up in the notebook labeled comp 2.

    Imagine that he has to hold in his mind that he needs to start taking notes now, and that he has to find the right notebook to take those notes. But he can't hold those two ideas in his mind at one time.
    Or when I ask him why he has a zero on a homework, and he says he had it done in time but didn’t get it turned in, I get confused as to how that happens.

    Because he forgot. Because he can't hold a lot of ideas in his mind at the same time. You can. But he can't. You can keep track of a lot of things at the same time, but he can't. (And let me tell you, it's a lot worse to be a woman than a man with this disability, because we're expected to multitask a lot more than men are.)
    · Reply · Share
  • thumper1thumper1 77981 replies3490 threads 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.
    · Reply · Share
  • jazzymomof7jazzymomof7 251 replies24 threads Junior Member
    edited May 2019
    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?
    edited May 2019
    · Reply · Share
  • jazzymomof7jazzymomof7 251 replies24 threads 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!
    · Reply · Share
  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 6894 replies30 threads 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.

    · Reply · Share
  • millie210millie210 524 replies24 threads 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.
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.

Recent Activity