November 2020 Newsletter – Executive Functions: Executive Functions and Adults

As you may recall from the introduction, executive functions do not fully develop until adulthood. This means that it is likely that you will work with adults who are still developing these skills, whether they are employees or families.

Understanding the impact of executive functioning on daily tasks and interactions can help you shift your approach to working with members of your program’s community. Here are just a few suggestions:

Provide meeting agendas: Let people know exactly what you will be discussing and why it is important.

Prepare for meetings: Help employees shift their focus from their day to the meeting. Guide them in a quick self-check-in activity that encourages them to let go of what is on their mind before the meeting and prepares them to be active participants in the meeting.

Encourage problem-solving: Ensure that team members and families are active participants when coming up with solutions to problems. Use brainstorming as a tool to promote creative problem solving and collaboration.

Share meeting recaps: After a meeting, write up a summary of the meeting and share it with attendees. Be sure to include details of agreed-upon action items and important upcoming dates.

Delegate: Create buy-in and a sense of community responsibility by delegating tasks to team members. You may need to practice cognitive flexibility yourself because the way they complete tasks may be very different from how you complete tasks.

Accountability: Help your staff members by holding them accountable for the tasks they are assigned or agree to complete. Create a culture where team members hold each other accountable for their work and the quality of the program initiatives.

Ask questions: Encourage others to think deeply and reflect on their plans or intentions. If you think a person may have trouble with time management, ask questions geared to helping the person identify steps they can take to accomplish the task in a timely manner.  You can also ask questions after the fact that encourages the individual to assess their performance, successes, and challenges.

Breaks: If you are planning a long meeting or professional development event, be sure to make time for breaks and movement opportunities.

Mentors: Some people benefit from working with a mentor. Mentors can model strategies for organization, planning, and time-management.

Organizational tools: Develop forms that are easy to use and help teachers organize their thoughts, plan curriculum, and setting goals.

Technology: Use technology to set meetings and communicate rather than writing things down on a piece of paper that could get misplaced.

Talk about executive functions: Share information about executive functions with adults who are not aware of these skills and how they help us navigate life. Discuss strategies for improving these skills and why it is so important for adults to have these skills in place in order to work effectively with children. See this article for more information.

For the main article Executive Functions, CLICK HERE

For the article How are Executive Functions and Executive Assistants Alike?, CLICK HERE

For the article Examples of Executive Functions, CLICK HERE

For the article Promoting the Development of Executive Functions, CLICK HERE