Executive Functions in the Classroom

How teachers and school staff can support students with executive functioning difficulties

In my personal and professional experience, when we inform a teacher that a student in their class has ADHD, a learning disability — or any divergent neurotype — they often nod as though they understand and don’t ask specific questions about that student.

Obviously this is not always the case, but it’s happened more often than not. It seems many adults form a quick picture in their head based on stereotypes, a bit of knowledge and previous experience, then move on.

Whenever any diagnosis or neurocomplexity is identified, that gives us only a very small picture of what to expect. Every single neurodivergent person experiences our traits differently and our complex neurology impacts our lives in different ways.

If you’re told a student has ADHD, you still know nothing about that student. Are they hyperactive? Inattentive? Do they struggle with impulsivity? Emotional regulation? Organization? Do they prefer orange or yellow? Sweet or salty?

You won’t know until you ask.

Please ask.

I provide concrete examples of how each EF might look inside a classroom, as well as child-centred strategies for supporting students in these areas.

Read my article in Age of Awareness.


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Published by Neurodiversity MB

Jillian has Child and Youth Work diploma as well as a BA in Psychology. Jillian worked on the front lines of Social Services agencies from 2003 - 2012. Jillian has taken numerous continuing education courses and has attended various workshops focused on supporting neurodiverse children, in particular children with ADHD.

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