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A day in the life of a child with executive functioning issues

Executive functions are part of the brains 'engine' that help us understand, organise and process information. They have an affect on essentially everything we do.

Executive Functions include the following:

- Organising, prioritising, starting tasks

- Focusing on things, and being able to move from one task to another

- Regulating ourselves, staying on task, staying alert

- Managing our emotions

- Using our short term memory to hold bits of information, then recall that information

- Controlling our impulses

To understand how these things can have an impact on everyday life, meet Sam. Sam is seven years old and has problems with his executive functioning. Here is an outline of his day:


Sam leaves for school on his scooter, accompanied by his mum and younger sister. Argh! fifteen minutes down the road, at the school gates, he realises he has forgotten his game for show and tell. He had spent all evening the night before painting, cutting, designing, gluing together all the pieces of the game. It was made from a shoebox, a tiny football stadium with football players made out of straws; you blow through the straw, and the little ball moves around the little pitch! All his friends were going to love that game, it might even make him popular. And now he had forgotten it at home. They were never allowed to bring in their own games. This opportunity would probably never come again. His friends would never get to see the awesome game. Aaaaaaarrrrghhh!!!! I have to go home and get it! I need it!! I NEED IT NOW!! In his eagerness, Sam runs towards the road before being stopped by mum. A crowd has gathered.