Executive Function: The Impact on Math Skills

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My daughter’s executive function skills and processing speed are in the 1st percentile. She is far below grade level in math.

She needs good instruction in programs/strategies that are scientifically based to help strengthen her executive function and math skills.

The school just wants to accommodate. They say she just isn’t capable of learning math & organizational skills.

Executive function skills encompass many areas. Occupational therapy combined with good counseling can be very helpful in achieving positive results.

Math skills are are highly dependent on:

  • organization
  • ability to remember and sequence a series of steps

Your daughter’s math skills will also be helped by improving her executive function skills. Your daughter CAN learn to be more organized but it won’t come naturally. She will require help to learn systems that work for her.

Some academic intervention may also be needed to bring up her math skill levels.

Evaluation Results

You said evaluation results showed your daughter’s executive function skills and processing speed were in the 1st percentile.

Did the evaluation make recommendations?  The evaluator or educational diagnostician should be able to determine exactly what your daughter needs and can advise the school about this.  If you rely on evaluations by school personnel, they are likely to support the school’s position.

Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents.

If the evaluation talks about problems with executive function you should read this book.The checklists alone are worth the price of the book. 

You will find this book and more in the Wrightslaw Advocate’s Bookstore.

More Information about Executive Functioning

How Does Executive Function Affect Learning? Learn the warning signs of executive function problems and get strategies to help.

How does executive functioning work (or not work) in kids with learning or attention problems? Learn how can you use the executive function framework to understand your child’s strengths and struggles.

  1. We were in the same boat almost two years ago. We pulled our child from the district and over a period of eighteen months, using research-based methodology and a tutor trained in RPM Our son has risen from being at kindergarten level in math to being almost up to fourth grade math skills. In trying to get the school to continue to allow the RPM tutoring to continue in a home placement due to our child’s autism and Other Health Impairment. We had standardized testing done to show he had made progress. They REFUSED to look at this testing or consider it. They said they would do their own testing and they said they had to do an IQ test first and that if we don’t consent to IQ testing, they will refuse to do any other testing and will refuse to provide any services. We just don’t know what to do now.

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