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Executive Function Unlocked: Tips for Teachers in Neurodiverse Classrooms

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Executive functions develop in spurts and phases. Elementary school students learn to skillfully switch between tasks, resist distractions, and think before they act.

Around age 10, cognitive flexibility helps them learn from their mistakes and shift perspectives. And as they move through adolescence, teens become increasingly better at time management, complex projects, and critical thinking.These milestones are characteristic of neurotypical brains, but what about students with ADHD and learning differences?

According to a survey conducted by ADDitude, most educators have at least one neurodivergent learner in their classroom. For these children, simple tasks like waiting to speak and turning in homework on time are often encumbered by executive function delays.The educators in our ADDitude community recommend getting to know each student individually and having on hand a mixed bag of executive function supports that can meet the learning demands of a neurodiverse classroom.

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