Executive Functioning

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-10-2003
Executive Functioning
7
Mon, 10-05-2009 - 12:03pm

My DS is 9 and in the 4th grade. He's on Focalin XR 15mgs. He appears well controlled at school. On the Vanderbilt assessment the teacher did at school he received mostly 0's and 1's for inattention and all 0's for hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms. These are very good scores. 0 is never and 5 is very often.

However, he has extreme difficulty with writing. He just came home with a poster assignment to "finish" over the weekend that he only had a title written on. This assignment is similar to a writing assignment but done on a poster with graphics included. He did have research done and a web done that he did on Kidspiration but he should have been much further along when he brought it home. Most kids were done with all of the writing and needed to just finish decorating.

It seems that my son has the inability to manage any type of long-term task on his own. He can't manage his time and doesn't understand the passage of time. He was completely overwhelmed with this assignment and had no idea where to start.

I believe that his difficulties are related to executive functioning. He has a new IEP for ADHD/writing/writing organization but he still came home with a project that he had very little help on and he had no idea what to do when he got home. Obviously, the school doesn't understand my son or his difficulties.

If anyone has dealt with these issues at school and worked out something informally or in a 504 or IEP to help your child I'd really like to hear about it. Thanks.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-10-2007
Mon, 10-05-2009 - 12:11pm

Hi


I deal with them daily, but in order to have anything written into DD's IEP for Executive Dysfunction we had to have it diagnosed by the neuropsych.

A child may HAVE ADHD, but it is not what they ARE. Never tell a child they ARE ADHD.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-10-2003
Mon, 10-05-2009 - 12:50pm
Thanks for your reply. Are you saying that you had to have a diagnosis that was separate from the ADHD? I'm hoping we won't have to do that since his IEP says writing organization already. If you don't mind, what specifically do you have in the IEP that directly relates to executive functioning. I want to have some ideas when I approach the "team". I know they won't be happy to hear from me but he has an IEP for a reason! This should never have happened.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-10-2007
Mon, 10-05-2009 - 1:09pm

Yes, we had to have a seperate diagnosis, but our school district fights IEP's tooth and nail. DD's IEP is pretty uch court ordered.


Her IEP specificall states she is

A child may HAVE ADHD, but it is not what they ARE. Never tell a child they ARE ADHD.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-10-2003
Mon, 10-05-2009 - 1:22pm

Thank you. We too had to fight very hard to get an IEP. I had to bring the Neuropsych out to the school twice and hire a lawyer and file for due process which was very very costly but I had no other option.

I'm thinking that it may be necessary to break down bigger assignments into much smaller steps with frequent teacher check-ins. Do they do anything like that for your DD? Does she get any resource help?

Thanks again.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-10-2007
Mon, 10-05-2009 - 1:29pm

DD does get resource help, and she can also go to a "quiet room" to work if she needs to. They do break assignments down, but recently she has been trying to do the entire thing, not broken down.


I also had to file Due process, and several OCR complaints....it would have been easier if they had given up.

A child may HAVE ADHD, but it is not what they ARE. Never tell a child they ARE ADHD.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 10-06-2009 - 9:18am

Wow...well, what is *specifically* written into your IEP? So, yes, we've dealt with this. Writing is my son's particular issue, too. 4th grade...stuff that helped then. Organizers--be they thought bubbles or just a list of what you want to write or what. They helped him keep on track once he was started. The teachers taught the whole class how to use them, I'd think there might have been something like that for a large project like you are describing (maybe that's the website?). Things to help keep track of time--my son's teachers would drop a block on his desk (one of those teeny math ones) every 5 minutes or so & he had to write one sentence per block.

I'd also talk--lots--to your kid about writing. If the paper were *blank* like that for my son, it would really mean he had an impossible time getting that first "perfect" starter sentence for the paragraph. We've tried to get him to understand that he is allowed to start in the middle of the parag & go fill in the starter sentence later.

The other thing that *massively* helped my kid was doing most of his writing on a computer--more at home, I suppose, than in school, but there, too. Because suddenly, you can edit easily, without re-writing the whole thing. For hand-written stuff, on big projects, you usually have to do a 1st draft; we had to teach our kid specific things like, how to insert a sentence without erasing everything after it, stuff like that. The process itself was hard, and the fact that he's not the best at getting his ideas down onto paper doesn't help.

We've also messed around with Dragon NaturallySpeaking (voice recognition), it worked reasonably well for him & was a change from having to type.

There, that was too long. I will say, he's in 7th now, and it is like a different world from 4th grade, thanks to a bunch of teachers who had him write & write & write. Easy? No. But doable.

Megan
Megan
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-10-2003
Tue, 10-06-2009 - 2:58pm
Thanks so much for the tips! I am meeting with the resource teacher on thursday so this will be helpful. My son has dysgraphia as well as ADHD so he has permission to type. It was really difficult to get and they finally just gave him the word processor a few days ago, a month after it was promised. I think that this will help with editing too. I also think the teacher got the message that I was not happy that he had no additional oversight for this assignment when he has an IEP for writing! She emailed me with an update about the other project he's working on today. He's so bright that people assume he's not trying but that's not the case.