Strengthening Executive Function Skills: A Conversation with Sarah Collins

Executive function skills are essential when it comes to homeschooling neurodivergent children, but sometimes it’s tough to know just how to incorporate teaching them into our everyday lives so we can help our kiddos become the best versions of themselves. 



Help For Neurodivergent Kids: Executive Function Skills From an OT Perspective

Homeschooling a neurodivergent kiddo can be challenging, but when a parent takes the time to tailor their homeschool to their child’s specific needs, it can also be the best educational experience there is.

Sarah Collins, occupational therapist and homeschool mom, explains that our kids’ executive function skills, located in the brain’s frontal lobe, include cognitive abilities such as planning, organizing, remembering, problem-solving, decision-making, and impulse control. These skills are essential for helping neurodivergent children become self-advocates and better manage their challenges. 

She goes on to say that parents should consider ways to help their kids develop these skills by considering their neuroplasticity, equipping them with tools and knowledge, building metacognitive and self-awareness skills, and providing appropriate accommodations. 

Self-Awareness: A Key Element to Improving Executive Function Skills in Your Homeschool

Self-awareness (metacognition) and executive function skills are closely interconnected, and developing self-awareness skills can help your kiddos strengthen them. Metacognition involves being aware of one’s own thoughts, emotions, and actions. This self-awareness is crucial for developing executive function skills, such as self-monitoring and self-evaluation. By understanding their own strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement, kids can better assess their executive functioning and make adjustments as needed.



Overall, metacognition acts as a catalyst for strengthening a kiddo’sexecutive function skills. It facilitates self-awareness, strategic thinking, self-monitoring, and adaptive problem-solving, all of which are crucial for effective executive functioning. By cultivating metacognitive abilities, children can enhance their executive function skills and improve their ability to plan, organize, initiate tasks, manage time, regulate emotions, and achieve goals.


Developing Executive Functioning Skills in Kids

While academic achievements and extracurricular activities are important, strengthening executive function skills might just be even more crucial to our kids’ future success. These cognitive abilities are the building blocks for future accomplishments, helping children navigate challenges, make effective decisions, and achieve their goals. 

Executive function skills enable kids to plan, organize, initiate, sustain focus, regulate emotions, and exercise self-control. These skills are vital for managing time, solving problems, setting goals, and adapting to new situations. Executive function skills can be seen as the brain’s “command center,” which is fundamental in cognitive flexibility, working memory, and self-regulation.



Investing time and effort in nurturing your child’s executive function skills is an investment in their long-term success and well-being. By fostering these cognitive abilities, you empower your child with the tools to navigate life’s challenges, make sound decisions, and achieve their goals. You can help your child develop strong executive function skills that will serve them well throughout their lives through consistent support, encouragement, and engaging activities.


The Raising Lifelong Learners Podcast Episode #203 – Strengthening Executive Function Skills: A Conversation with Sarah Collins

In today’s episode, Colleen and Sarah Collins of HomeschoolOT discuss how executive function skills are essential when homeschooling neurodivergent children. They chat about ways to support our children, such as equipping them with the necessary tools and knowledge and building their metacognitive and self-awareness skills.



Links And Resources From Today’s Show:





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