Saturday, July 6, 2013

Games & Strategies to Improve Executive Functions

The summer break period can be an excellent time for parents to help children prepare for the next school year. That time can also provide a great opportunity to improve on such things as problem-solving, goal-setting, follow-through and other skills included in what are often called executive functions. Believe it or not, such skills can be developed or improved by using specific activities, strategies and even games---yes, games. We can't think of a better time to do this than during the summer break!

There has been a recent increase in the amount of information available about these executive functions. What are executive functions? Psychologists and neuro-scientists refer to this term as a unique set of mental functions or skills. These functions are related yet distinct abilities that provide for intentional, goal-directed, problem-solving actions.

In our article this week, we wanted to help parents and teachers help better prepare children and teens for the coming school year. As a result, we are including here a list of links that will provide general information, strategies, games and other resources related to the development and improvement of the various executive functions. Working on these skills now could very well enable your child or student(s) to enjoy a much more successful school year!

General Information about Executive Functions

Executive Functions & ADHD– Overview and invention strategies for parents and teachers (Includes operational definitions of terms) by Adam J. Cox, Ph.D.

Executive Function Skills and Disorders – WebMD explains what executive function is and discusses problems of executive function, such as difficulty in planning and organizing.

Executive-Function Deficits in Children - ADDitude Magazine -- Improving executive-function skills can help your ADHD child overcome academic obstacles and frustration and succeed in school. Includes information about ADHD symptoms, diagnosis, etc.

Executive Function..."What is this anyway?" by Chris A. Zeigler Dendy, M.S.
Information provided about the components of executive functions, school success strategies and more. Article contains information helpful to teens with ADHD.

Activities & Strategies to Help Improve Executive Function

Executive Function and ADHD – Improve decision making skills with scientifically designed brain games.

Improve Executive Function Through Games - ADDitude Magazine -- Games that help ADHD children (and others) develop or improve executive function.

How to Promote Executive Function in Children with ADHD, Autism and Learning Disabilities – by Nancy Konigsberg MA OTR/L—Tips and strategies from a mother who is also an occupational therapist.

For information on customizable reading tools: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of: Burgeoning School Psychologist:


  1. Executive functions are so important. My son's curriculum is very focused on executive functions. I've noticed his organizational skills have really improved.

    Susan Hirst |!executive-function---baltimore/cgh3

  2. Dear Susan,

    Many thanks for taking the time to provide your good comments here.

    Yes, the use of appropriate activities and specific strategies can make such a difference for children (and adults) when it comes to improving executive functions. We are pleased to learn that your son has experienced such improvement in his executive functioning skills!

    We also appreciated your inclusion of the link to the excellent article on this topic. We will keep this link in mind as we share articles via our social media postings.

    Thank you again for your good input, Susan. We wish your son (and you!) continued learning success!

    Happy Reading!

    Joan M. Brennan