On Thursday, I was hit by lightning! Not really, but it felt like that! I was in the right place, at the right time, with the right person.
Currently, my school has a substitute psychologist who is only working with us temporarily. Although I don’t know her well, it is clear that she is intelligent, experienced and resourceful.
She asked me to fill out a questionnaire about one of my students. I took it and immediately went to my room to complete it before it became another item on my extensive “to do” list. As I read through each question, I thought carefully about my responses. Always. Sometimes. Never.
I was focused on this particular student, but my own son crept into my thoughts. There were a lot of “always” that applied to my son.
Before the end of the day, I returned the assessment to our temporary school psych and we struck up a conversation. She turned around and took off her glasses, looked at me and said, “Tell me about your son.”
She asked. So I did.
As I shared, most likely over shared, she shook her head. Before long she asked me if I had ever heard of executive functioning.
I told her that I might have seen the term in my reading, but I wasn’t very familiar with it. As I spoke, she searched through her files until she found what she wanted. She told me to look over this assessment and to see if any of the characteristics spoke to me about my son.
I started at the top and went through the list.
Complains about being bored. Yes.
Overreacts more than kids his age. Yes.
Finishes homework, but can’t turn it in. Yes.
Has trouble getting started with chores. Yes.
Difficulty with multi-step directions. Yes.
Changes moods quickly. Yes.
Tends to be a “couch potato” Yes.
The list went on and the yes responses continued, one right after another. The hairs on my arms stood up while my brain was trying to piece all of this together. I quickly phoned her and told her that this was my son. This was the information that I was missing; the lost piece of the puzzle.
We talked and she started telling me all about the books, experts, resources and strategies. There was a lot that I could do to help my son.
He didn’t understand why school was hard, but people said that he was so bright.
He didn’t understand why he was more forgetful about homework and completing chores.
He didn’t understand and I didn’t either.
As I have started to research executive functioning issues because of my son, I became frustrated that I hadn’t known this information. As an experienced teacher, I should have known! As a teacher of students of all abilities, I should have had this information to help my students.
Why didn’t I know this?
This weekend, I am soaking up information like a sponge. This will help my son and benefit my students; I plan on telling my colleagues about this too. They will want to know.
Did you know about executive functioning? What do you think would help me on this journey?