Identifying executive functioning difficulties

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Identifying executive functioning difficulties

What would you see, what would you observe if your child has difficulties with executive functioning? Well, they’re going to have problems starting a task, for example, a project. These are the children who get really overwhelmed – they’ll avoid the task, they’ll get very distracted, they won’t know where to begin. They may even shut off and not do the task altogether. These children tend to loose things, you know, the backpack will be a mess. They’ll forget to bring their homework home and they’ll forget, even when it’s done accurately and completely, they’ll forget to turn in their homework to the teacher. These are the children that will make careless mistakes. They’ll forget about proofing their work, or they may even rush. Other children are crammers. They’ll forget that there is a test next day and suddenly, you’ll be surprised. The child will tell you, “Mom, I’m having a test at 8 o’clock in the morning.” And it will be 9 o’clock at night. Time management is a problem with these children. So your children can have a break down in any of these areas and have executive functioning. Executive functioning gets taxed as children grow older, because the increasing demands at school with regards of preparing for tests, the number of tests and all their projects and homework commitments. So if your child has difficulties with executive functioning and more importantly, you’re doing the work for them, get help. This is a life skill that your child really needs to learn. It will affect all areas of their life as they get older and as an adult.

See Karen Schiltz, PhD's video on Identifying executive functioning difficulties...


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Karen Schiltz, PhD


Dr. Schiltz is a clinical psychologist, licensed in the state of California. From 1985-1987, she completed a post-doctoral residency in clinical neuropsychology at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine within the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences. She received her doctoral degree in psychology in 1984 from the American Psychological Association accredited California School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles. Dr. Schiltz has conducted a private practice specializing in the clinical and forensic neuropsychological assessment of children, adolescents, and young adults since 1988. She has held an appointment as an Associate Clinical Professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine within the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, since July of 2004. She also held an appointment as an Assistant Clinical Professor within the same department from September 1993 to July of 2004. Dr. Schiltz has been a clinical supervisor within that department since August 1993 to the present time. Her faculty duties at UCLA include lecture presentations in the field of pediatric neuropsychological assessment, attentional disorders, accommodation assessment guidelines, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Dr. Schiltz has written numerous articles on regulation and selective neurobehavioral disorders. In her 24 years of clinical work with children, adolescents, and young adults, she has emphasized the critical importance of integrating neuropsychological assessment findings to the application of accommodations to the classroom and home environments in a “user-friendly” manner. Dr. Schiltz supports a comprehensive team approach in the assessment and remediation of children who struggle with cognitive, learning, behavioral, social, and emotional difficulties. She sees a variety of students who are referred subsequent to or in the process of being diagnosed with a suspected learning disorder, attentional and concentrational compromises, suspected social communication disorder, memory disorder, neurotoxin exposure, scuba diving illnesses, seizure disorders, traumatic brain injury, cognitive changes due to medical illness or surgery, substance abuse disorder, pervasive developmental disorders, high cognitive ability profiles, among other neurological and neuropsychiatric conditions. Her experience has come from assessing children and working on intervention teams both in the hospital units as well as university and private-practice based settings. In addition to her private practice and academic supervisory duties, Dr. Schiltz has written, co-written, and/or presented over 81 papers, manuscripts, and publications. Her book, Beyond the Label, was published by Oxford University Press in 2012. The book, along with coauthors Amy M. Schonfeld and Tara Niendam, helps parents and educators recognize the warning signs that may indicate a potential problem with a child and explain how to find the best help. Throughout the book, the authors stress that by focusing on behaviors and not labels, parents will be able to better understand the whats, whys, and hows of a child's learning and emotional challenges.

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