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What is executive function?A common metaphor people use to describe executive function is to imagine an air traffic control system at a busy airport. Our brains executive function is like having an air traffic system managing the safe arrivals and departures of airplanes on multiple runways. Executive function enables us to concentrate, focus, filter distractions and work with information to plan, organize, and complete tasks; similar to what an air traffic controller does when managing the various operations at an airport. In conjunction with self-regulation skills, executive function skills allow us to focus on multiple streams of information at the same time. These critical skills help us control our impulses, achieve our goals, and make healthy decisions. Executive function comprises both the skills that involve thinking (or cognition) and doing (or behavior). (Karen Huberty and Maureen Bechard, ADDitude).
Why do people need executive function coaching?People are not born with executive function skills, but have the capacity to develop them over time. Some people need scaffolding (structured supports) to practice executive function skills before applying them on their own. Students who are working towards learning goals that are in a new domain (an area of study they are not familiar with) or students who have learning differences and/or disabilities that compromise executive functions (e.g., executive function weakness or diagnoses such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) often need graduated scaffolds and coaching to develop their executive function skills.
How often does executive function coaching take place and for how long?Generally, executive function coaching takes place one time per week during a 50 minute session. Depending on clients goals and rate of progress, most clients work with our coaches a minimum of 12 weeks before fading coaching support. As clients make progress towards their coaching goals, the need for coaching fades. Coaches work closely with clients to determine how to best fade coaching support to ensure progress and skills are still maintained.
How is executive function coaching different from tutoring?Tutoring and executive function coaching are often used interchangeably because they are interventions that students use to improve their learning. Here is a brief overview of both to provide clarity on the key differences between the two. Executive function coaches, also known as organizational coaches or academic coaches, tend to have backgrounds in special education or psychology and teach students to become more efficient learners and will often teach strategies that help students develop a more organized approach to "doing school". Tutors tend to work on supporting students to improve in specific subject areas (like math and science for example) or specific academic skills (like writing essays or reading comprehension). Some tutors are credentialed and certified to help students with learning differences like dyslexia. They may be certified through programs like Orton-Gillingham or Lindamood-Bell. Executive function coaches can also carry various certifications and incorporate them into their practice. It is always best to check with the service provider directly to best understand their level of expertise and exactly what services they offer. At Learning Specialist LLC, we offer coaching services designed to help clients develop their executive function skills using a personalized approach. Clients develop coaching goals with their coach and sessions are designed to help clients develop skills and behaviors that will enable them to achieve success. While clients may receive general academic support as part of their executive function learning goals (e.g. mapping out project goals and plans or outlining multi-step writing assignments), coaching does not involve subject-specific tutoring like developing writing skills or content understanding within a project. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more!
All you need to know before you schedule a session
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