Education, Parenting, Special Needs, Stages

Wiggle Room: Strategies For Middle Schoolers With Varied Learning Needs

September 1, 2021

Executive function (EF) is the ability of an individual to pay attention, plan, recall instructions, and handle multiple tasks effectively.

EF also plays a huge part in time management, task initiation, organization, flexibility, self control, and perseverance. By the time a student is in middle school having adequate executive function skills are not just an expectation, they are critical skills to have success in and out of the classroom. 

Many students with learning disabilities and varied learning needs will often have poor or limited executive function skills and can benefit from many types of adaptive and organizational strategies at home and at school. EF skills are malleable, which means they can be taught and improved with practice and repetition. 

It is crucial for an adult to assist setting up and reinforcing these strategies to make them successful, routine, and automatic.

Ongoing reinforcement of these strategies can help your middle school child become more independent, confident, and feel accomplished. Keep in mind that these skills are malleable and often must be taught to students who have attention difficulties and executive function weaknesses to have academic success in middle school. 

Kimberly Bradley, MS, LOTR, pediatric occupational therapist, owner Kim4Kids

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