Thursday, February 21, 2013

Executive Function

I was talking with Oldest Son about homework a few days ago.  He has a coach he's working with, and I was asking him what they talk about and what I can do to help.  He said one of the things I could do was remind him why homework is important and how he needs to do it to get into a good college.

Last night I was asking him about his homework, and we started talking about why it matters for him.  I said it isn't just about getting into a good college.  He asked if I meant he needs to do it to graduate from high school?

I said no, I'm talking about something else.  As part of his autism, Oldest has significant challenges with "executive function", the parts of the brain that are involved in planning and organizing.  We talked about how eventually he will be done with whatever level of schooling he's going to achieve and will need to get a job.  At any job you have to do some amount of prioritizing, organizing, and planning.  And the jobs that are interesting and pay well (like what I do) require LOTS of executive function in order to succeed.

Oldest doesn't need to do homework in order to master the school curriculum.  But he needs a lot of practice with executive function.  I told him that I think that is where he (we) should focus our attention and energy for homework.

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