Friday, December 13, 2013

Executive skills for children

Schoolchildren need an array of intellectual, emotional, and social skills, according to Stacey Spencer, EdD, a pediatric neuropsychologist with the Morris Psychology Group in Parsippany, NJ.

The key to executive function, or success in school, is short-term memory. This means the ability to store recent info and use it and make sense of it.

Poor functioning in this area--in the school environment--means inability to prioritize tasks, focus, and cooperate with other kids.

In the early grades, kids are expected to do work independently and also work with others.

So, parents, how can you help?

First, try to make the child's environment less stressful. Home should be stable with outlets for creativity and physical activity.

Relationships should be supportive and reliable.

And, play and activities should foster thinking, creativity and social connections. Gradually increase the complexity of activity. I remember playing a lot of Concentration--putting a deck of cards face down on the floor and trying to draw pairs. If you did not get a pair, you put the cards back--and had to try to remember where an ace was or an eight--if you needed one

Or maybe Mom was not trying to improve our executive skills-but was trying to shut us up for five minutes. Hey! I bet that WAS it.

No comments: