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Planning – Time Management – Prospection

Another area of executive functioning that we hit hard at HeadWorks is planning, time management, and I would also include prospection or the ability to project yourself in the future to know what you need, and also the ability to go back in your history and see how things went then. So if you were going to plan something out and you have access to the past and how things went in the past, and you can also project yourself well into the future and estimate how much time something will take, you're going to tend to be a pretty good planner.

So the parents will come in with kids who have trouble in these regards, and they're frustrated, and I'll ask, Well, give me an example of how this might go. And they say, Okay, we're eating breakfast, and I tell them we have to be in the car in five minutes. And they're thinking that with these different areas of executive functioning, this child knows you still have to find your shoes and you know in the past you've had trouble locating, then that's gonna be at least a minute or two, and you're gonna put these on. You have to clean up your plate, and on and on, and the parents will say, and even after I say, we're gonna be leaving in five minutes, the child continues to sit there and they get frustrated, but in a child's mind, who's having trouble with time management and planning, they hear you say, In five minutes, I have five minutes, and I will leave the table in five minutes, but they're not predicting all of the things that they have to do in the next five minutes, so these kids tend to be late, they're frequently like they mismanaged time.

If you ask them how long something should take, they might say 10 minutes, but the average person might say, that would take me at least 45 minutes to do that, so they have trouble predicting time and elapsed time, so if they believe that something might take 15 minutes while they're beginning doing it, they lose track of time, and time just passes and the parent might come in and say, You've been working on this for three hours, and it's surprising to these kids who are having trouble on monitoring that time.

A child comes in and they have a long-term assignment. This is a big problem for kids who have trouble with planning and time management. If something is due in two weeks, if they have trouble predicting these things, they might begin the task the night before. Then the parents become very frustrated because they'll ask, Why didn't you start this last week?, and they'll say, because it wasn't due until tomorrow.

So planning and time management is something that we work on very hard at HeadWorks, when the kids come in, we find out what all their long-term assignments are, we find out what to do tomorrow, what to do at the end of the week, let's do... In two weeks, a test that's coming up, a quiz, and we plan it all out. We write it all out, we ask the kids to estimate how long things will take, and then we have them use timers so that they can start to get some insight into how is their time prediction.

And also, we found at HeadWorks that if a child says, estimates that something is gonna take 10 or 15 minutes, their attention and concentration are much better during that 10 or 15 minutes because they don't wanna be wrong.

So there's just so many things that we do here at HeadWorks to make sure that things are planned out and they're done way before they really actually need to be, so there's plenty of breathing room, so there's a lot less panicking that goes on with the kids with whom we work.


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