At school, your child is not finished with a math sheet, but then it’s time to move on to P.E. (a desired activity). He resists leaving the classroom until the math sheet is finished, even though he really loves P.E.
Due to challenges with keeping thoughts and belongings organized, your child may have trouble making social plans. He may say he just wants to do whatever everybody else wants because he is having trouble initiating or formulating his own idea. Academically, long-term assignments that have multiple components are very difficult, and portions may be incomplete or missing. As a side effect of poor planning, assignments are often turned in late.
Especially when answering questions. For example, if asked, “Do you want a tuna fish or peanut butter sandwich?”, your child may say, “Yes.” A child with EF weakness often struggles to process incoming information accurately, even though she recognizes the question that was asked.
A child with EF weakness tends to have a hard time self-monitoring errors. As a result, she may come out of a test thinking, “I just aced that test!” and then become surprised and disappointed if she performed poorly.
Since kids with EF weakness tend to thrive in routine—as it helps them better anticipate what comes next—they have challenges when a routine changes. For example, Tuesdays are always taco night at home, but you’re having company in from out of town and decide to eat at a steak house instead. A child with EF weakness may get stuck on “taco Tuesday” and have a hard time switching gears to the new plan.
By Stacy Fretheim, MS, CCC-SLP