5 Common Executive Function Challenges

5 Common Executive Function Challenges

5 Common Executive Function Challenges

5 Common Executive Function Challenges

Does this sound like your student?

Jeremy is a 7th grader with a long list of missing and incomplete assignments. He finds verbal directions confusing and hasn’t used a planner since 5th grade. Even when work is posted online, he struggles with details and often abandons tasks. When asked why he doesn’t seek help when confused, Jeremy’s response shows that he doesn’t want to bother his busy teachers.

Problems communicating with teachers are rampant among my students. Many with executive function challenges can’t seem to write emails or approach their teachers 1-on-1 with questions that could easily resolve where they are stuck.

Jeremy’s story is similar to many students whose families come to SOS4Students seeking support.

Here are the top five areas we see pose the greatest challenges for our students:
  1. Managing and Organizing Tasks to Get Started: Students often label themselves as “lazy” or unmotivated, but this may not reflect their true challenges. Guidance is needed to help organize tasks effectively for better performance and focus, especially with distractions from social media.
  2. Planning & Decision Making: Without a solid plan, students can feel overwhelmed, leading to stress and subpar performance. Learning effective planning strategies is essential for success.
  3. Studying Effectively: Schools often encourage students to “study hard,” but telling the kids to focus or “buckle down” isn’t remotely useful! Students should be helped to identify their action items, learn routines, and establish procedures for studying for different classes and instructors.
  4. Self-Advocacy: Many students shy away from seeking help due to concerns about inconveniencing teachers or peers. Developing self-advocacy skills is vital yet often overlooked.
  5. Preparing for Transitions: Major shifts, like moving to middle or high school, demand enhanced executive skills and independence. Preparation is crucial for navigating these transitions smoothly.
Knowing the challenges faced by students is the first step; knowing where to find help is the key to success.
  • Does your student have an IEP? Set up an IEP meeting to express your concerns and craft goals to support growth in executive function areas as well as find accommodations that better support your student in the classroom. (Need some advocacy help? SOS4Students can help there, too!)
  • Read Smart But Scattered Teens by Richard Guare, Peg Dawson, and Colin Guare to learn ways to help boost your teen’s executive functioning.
  • For SOS4Students, this is our area of expertise. Contact us to explore how we can support your student through workshops and 1:1 coaching!

Download our SOS4Students 2024 Summer Workshops Flyer (PDF).

Summer 2024 Workshop Registration Is Live!

It’s never too early to begin planning for summer vacation and making time for your student to attend one or more of our popular summertime executive-function-based programs.

  • Designed to build study tools, habits, and strategies.
  • Our workshops sell out, so register before May 1, 2024, to ensure a spot and lock in early bird rates.
  • All workshops are held in-person at Lafayette Library.

GRADES 4 & 5

Junior Executive Brain Bootcamp helps 4th and 5th graders prepare for middle school by honing foundational executive function skills. Sign Up


Mastering Middle School is an intensive master workshop that prepares and teaches incoming 6th graders everything they need to know for a successful transition to middle school. Sign Up

GRADES 7 & 8

Middle School Blitz teaches students entering grades 7 & 8 the essential study strategies they need to manage increasingly complex homework, long-term assignments, and outside activities. Sign Up

Take Note: Introduction to Note Taking for Grades 7 & 8 teaches this fundamental skill to lay the groundwork for continued success in high school, college, and beyond. Sign Up


Nailing Ninth Grade prepares students and parents for the transition from middle school to high school, including how to handle increased workloads and work more independently. Sign Up

GRADES 10 to 12

Executive Brain Bootcamp teaches executive function skills and strategies high school students need to jumpstart complex tasks, plan, prioritize, and become better organized. Sign Up

GRADES 9 to 12

Secrets of Successful Note Taking demystifies the essential skill of note taking best practices for textbooks, videos, and lectures, making reading and class time more productive. Sign Up

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