Task Organization and Executive Functions

Practicing for success with Reading Comprehension

Math ● Science ● Technology

Task Organization is an “executive function” that is organized at the highest level  within the cortex of the brain.  Executive Functions have been described as a set of mental skills that help you get things done.  According to WebMD examples of executive functions include:

  • Managing time
  • Paying attention
  • Switching focus
  • Planning and organizing
  • Remembering details
  • Avoid saying or doing the wrong thing
  • Multitasking
While many children who have Sensory Processing Dysfunction (SPD) are  creative and intelligent, most also have some level of difficulty with executive functions. These deficits are often  shown by problems with finding the main idea, organizing a task and breaking it down into steps, following those steps, and  attending to details while monitoring progress toward completing the task.

A parent might add  items such as remembering to bring homework  from school, how to log on to classwork, or setting out clothes for the next day.  Meanwhile, a classroom teacher might include items such as multitasking classroom routines, planning and organizing steps of math problems or being able to switch focus during classroom discussions.  At times friends might also include items such as avoiding telling a secret or avoiding saying the wrong thing that hurts someone’s feelings to the list of executive functions.

Construction toys can be used to help address deficits with executive functions by providing a blueprint to be followed.

 

Construction toys provide practice in: 

 

In addition to stimulating and rehearsing Executive Functions, construction toys that offer an image to be followed also offer the benefits of strengthening visual perception and hand function skills.  Rehearsal of top -> bottom and left -> right patterns of assembly  teach patterns of operation needed for efficiency and success with  math, science, and technology applications, thereby reducing the slowed thinking and processing delays that lead to distraction for children with SPD.

Most importantly, be sure to select construction toys that match the skill level of the child.  Ask your occupational therapist for suggestions.

 

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