When a child’s executive functioning system is off kilter, it can wreak havoc on a child’s academic and social performance. A breakdown in executive functioning essentially means that the mental processes are misaligned and in need of some adjustment.
Just like a car that may require a tune-up to get all the parts working together cohesively, our executive functioning systems work much the same way. At Fit Learning, we essentially provide a tune up of the brain and get those essential neurons firing the way they’re intended. When we look at the brain as a muscle, what is required to strengthen it? It needs to be worked, right?
For children who have IEP Goals or are on a 504 Plan at school, executive functioning can play a critical role in meeting or failing to meet the requirements of each. IEP goals naturally vary from one child to the next, depending upon what part of the brain needs strengthening. In other words, where are the deficiencies?
Symptoms of Executive Functioning Disorder
The seven major types of self-regulation associated with executive function are as follows:
- Self-regulation leading to emotional outbursts
- Retaining information learned
- Relating and making connections
- Generating ideas
- Intrinsic motivation
- Planning and problem Solving
- Task initiation
At Fit Learning, we conduct a thorough assessment of children to determine where the weaknesses are. This then enables us to pinpoint what issues need to be addressed and what learning gaps need to be filled. When a child is sitting in class bored because he or she is not following the material, the part of the brain that is intended to process that content is stagnant. Just as a stagnant workout deters muscle-building, stagnation in input to the brain deters learning.
Imagine trying to complete a writing assignment if you have never mastered the basics of comparing, generating, and connecting ideas. This experience can be very frustrating and defeating for any student! As a result, the act of initiating a task becomes this endlessly daunting endeavor. After all, how excited will one be about taking on something he knows nothing about?
Imagine a child sitting in a classroom, feeling this very turmoil every single day! How can such experiences not evoke anxiety, depression, or self-disparaging behavior? Learning should be fun, yet these negative emotions take any sense of fulfillment out of the equation.
We use research-based strategies from the psychology of Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Mindfulness to help the student begin to actively engage in the learning process. This helps to change the child’s mindset from an Extrinsic (must do) attitude to a more productive Intrinsic (can do) attitude.
We also go back to the point where the learning gaps started to form. From that point forward, we teach all the “missed” foundational skills to a level of fluency. Until a child has completely mastered the prerequisite materials, only then will we advance to higher-level concepts.
More often than not, deficits that appear to be related to “Executive Functioning” are actually deficits in foundational skills. Missed foundational skills result in learning gaps, and these learning gaps disrupt the continuity of the learning process. Imagine a child trying to do long division if he lacks the understanding of basic arithmetic. It’s simply not happening!
Through our science-based teaching methodology, we employ processes that will reinvigorate the brain and instill a newfound passion for learning!