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Does your child have a hard time staying organized? Are they falling behind on schoolwork and struggling to catch up? These issues are often not due to a lack of motivation or intelligence, but related to delays in executive functions.
Executive functions are a set of mental skills that are important to a child’s development both in and out of school. These skills help your child plan, organize, process information, and even interact and communicate with others.
An executive function coach helps your student improve their executive functions when they are showing evidence of delayed executive functions. Coaching is conducted by a trained, experienced clinician virtually, and includes identifying executive function and academic issues, and building and supporting the executive functions of your student. Your child’s progress is tracked to monitor progress and adjust coaching over time.
“An EF Coach creates a partnership with their students that allows them to guide the student through maximizing their potential with the ultimate goal of stepping aside and allowing the student to solve problems independently,” says Parallel Learning Executive Function Coach Jennifer Preston. When asked what her goals are as an executive function coach, Jennifer states, “My goals are to build confidence and independence by modeling how to navigate challenges they may face at home or in the classroom.”
Executive function coaching begins with an assessment to analyze what areas within executive functions your child struggles with. Whether they are unorganized, unable to properly plan, or finding to difficult to manage their time appropriately, this information will be used to strengthen weaknesses using an evidence-based approach.
The executive function coach and the student and their family will set goals, and then the coach will teach, model, and track strategies to accomplish each goal and improve necessary executive functions. Unlike tutoring, executive function coaching is not focused solely on academics. “EFC provides skills and strategies that apply to school, home, and other activities… these skills do not always equate to grades, but are, nevertheless, necessary for our student’s success,” says Jennifer.
For example, let’s say your child struggles when organizing their thoughts while writing a book report. An executive function coach will help them create a process for structuring an outline, modeling how to build this outline, and then guiding your child through the process to ensure they are able to understand it and apply it to their schoolwork or outside of school.