D30 arms kids with exec skills
Georgia Bozeday, EdD Director of Educational Services Rush NeuroBehavioral Center
How to tell if a child has an executive function problem
According to the Rush NeuroBehavioral Center, children with Executive Function issues may exhibit some of the following problems or difficulties:
Trouble Organizing Work
• Has difficulty identifying what material to record in note taking
• When given three or more things to do…remembers only the first or the last thing to do
• Has difficulty getting started on tasks, which may appear as oppositional behavior
Trouble Completing Tasks
• Starts tasks but may not finish
• Doesn’t check to insure that each step is completed
• Written work is poorly organized
• Doesn’t check work before submitting it
• Has good ideas but doesn’t get the job done
Trouble Managing Materials
• Starts assignments/tasks without necessary materials
• Loses important papers or assignments
• Cannot find clothes, shoes, toys, books, pencils, etc.
• Fails to turn in completed work
Trouble Managing Time
• Does not leave enough time to complete tasks
• Wastes time doing small projects and fails to do big projects
• Over-estimates or under-estimates time on needed tasks
• Runs out of time before completing assignments/tasks
Trouble Managing Attention
• Skips steps in multi-step tasks
• Has difficulty relating to a story chronologically
• Appears distractible and/or impulsive
• Has difficulty making transitions and/or coping with the unforeseen
• Exhibits inappropriate or over-reactive responses to situations
• “Jumps the gun” socially
• Picks smaller, immediate rewards over larger, delayed rewards
• Doesn’t realistically evaluate performance in school
Updated: December 23, 2012 6:33AM
More than 125 parents in Glenview and Northbrook recently participated in a School District 30 workshop on teaching children how to better organize their time spent learning.
Georgia Bozeday, director of Educational Services for Rush NeuroBehavioral Center in Skokie, led the seminar on Executive Function skills now in the curriculums at all three District 30 schools – grades Kindergarten through eighth.
The program focuses on managing time, organizing classroom materials, developing strategic thinking and goal setting, among others.
Bozeday, a teacher and administrator at Sunset Ridge School in Northfield for 38 years, said young students respond well to skills that successful adults in business and personal life have practiced for years.
Through neuroscience and MRI imaging, she said researchers can see what parts of the brain are engaged and interested while learning.
“But when overloaded while doing two or three things at once, the brain imaging browns out and disengages, especially when kids today are inundated with demands through media technology,” explained Bozeday, of Wilmette.
Executive Function skills break down classroom assignments into workable parts, thus allowing students to complete tangible goals, she said.
“We want to kids to like what they’re doing in the classroom, which is what makes learning fun. That’s why we’re here.”
Bozeday has taught the Executive Function program to more than 200 Chicago area schools for six years, as well as to freshman and sophomores at Loyola University.
Typically, she introduces the use of time charts, webbing and two-column note taking.
“When presented with these tools with which to organize information, all kids understand the value,” said Bozeday, who also taught special education and gifted learning at Sunset Ridge School.
Alison Velasquez, co-president of the Parent Teacher Organization at Maple School in Northbrook, said parents wanted to know more about the new strategy.
At the workshop, she said one parent commented that local school districts were very efficient at academically preparing students for college.
“But once they get to college, this parent said the students ask, ‘How do I manage my time?’ Presenting Executive Function skills early on in school can better prepare our kids when they go away to school,” she said.
“The workshop was fascinating and Executive Functioning is a hot topic. It’s incredible that more than 100 people came to a PTO event.
“I see my fifth-grader bringing home organizing folders from school. It’s making a difference.”
Ursula Sedlak, president of the PTO at Wescott School in Northbrook, said instruction in organizing information often does not dawn on people until they are adults.
“This part of development is huge. It’s a life lesson at becoming more efficient as people,” she said.
Bozeday said parents can help their children with Executive Function skills at home by setting up study areas and learning the skills so they can help and oversee the organizational tasks.