What are Executive Functions?

Executive function skills are a group of mental processes that support individuals in successfully navigating virtually all areas of life. Individuals with strong EF skills demonstrate increased mental flexibility and decreased emotional volatility. They are able to problem-solve, plan, organize, and are skillful at focusing on and remembering details. In FLIPP the Switch: Strengthen Executive Function Skills (Wilkins & Burmeister, 2015), the authors organize common EF skills using the acronym FLIPP:

  • Flexibility
  • Leveled Emotionality
  • Impulse Control
  • Planning and Organizing
  • Problem Solving

EF skills are developed throughout childhood, and are not fully developed until individuals are in their twenties. Although some children may display EF skills that are fairly advanced, the truth is that most young people struggle with one or more EF skills. We believe that it is our responsibility as adults to teach EF skills with the same rigor and enthusiasm as that with which we teach academic skills.

We look forward to supporting you, whether you are a parent, teacher, sibling, coach, or boss, as you seek to teach and support strong EF skills in those young people you care about. Please feel free to comment, ask questions, and become part of a dynamic community of individuals who are committed to supporting children and young adults in building those skills that will enable them to become responsible, successful adults.

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney Co.


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