Executive-functioning Strategies: The Antidote to Stress in School

35th Annual Learning Differences Conference

I will have the honor of speaking at the 35th Annual Learning Differences Conference on March 20 and 21, 2020 at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The title of the conference, Executive Function Strategies: The Antidote to Stress in School, speaks to the importance of executive skills in helping students be more successful in the school setting. Lynn Meltzer, Ph.D., the conference founder and chairperson, is one of the leading thinkers about executive functions and school settings. One of her many books, Executive Function in Education, has had a great influence on my interest in and knowledge of executive-functioning issues in children.

The conference is directed towards professionals in education, psychology, child development, speech and language pathology, school psychology, and other related fields. Presentations will be given on a variety of fascinating topics, including social-emotional learning, worry and anxiety about school, metacognition, and flexible mindsets. One of my favorite authors, Peg Dawson, Ed.D., NCSP, has a session entitled Smart but Scattered, the title of her best selling book on executive functioning.

Additional presentations of special interest to me cover growth mindsets, improving persistence and resilience, metacognition, and slow processing speed. The conference will be an excellent source of information about children who might be described as alternative or complex learners as well as kids with more traditional diagnoses such as ADHD, learning disabilities, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Many of the speakers are world-renowned experts and will provide specific strategies to help improve skills such as working memory, flexibility, and social-emotional development.

My presentation is entitled Digital Technologies for Improving Thinking Skills in Children. I will present information about how executive-functioning skills are practiced by children in their screen-based technology use. My focus, as always, will be on helping to generalize the skills that children use with technology to real-world situations.

If you are a childcare professional, I strongly encourage you to attend the conference. Not only will it be a great opportunity to learn more about executive functions, but the presentations are also designed to give pragmatic advice about improving school-based executive-functioning strategies. There will also be many chances to meet with your fellow clinicians in this growing field.

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