Executive Function

The term executive function describes a set of cognitive abilities that control and regulate other abilities and behaviors. Executive functions are necessary for goal directed behavior. They include the ability to initiate and stop actions, to monitor and change behavior as needed, and to plan future behavior when faced with novel tasks and situations. Executive functions allow us to anticipate outcomes and adapt to changing situations. The ability to form concepts and think abstractly are often considered components of executive function.

Read more: http://www.minddisorders.com/Del-Fi/Executive­-function.html

In other words, executive function is a set of mental processes that help connect past experience with present situation/action. We use it when we plan, organize, strategize, notice and remember details, manage time, manage space and control our impulses (for instance curb our desire to say or do something inappropriate.).

An activity that you can do in the home could be to have the client pick out a recipe from their own cook book. Have the client write down a shopping list containing everything that is needed for that recipe, and talk about what cooking supplies you should use. If possible, shop for the things together. If not possible, that is also okay. Look in the ads from the grocery stores, to get an estimated idea of the budget for the recipe, help only as little as needed, and in a respectful and kind way, so the client feels competent. You can start out Monday with the planning, do shopping a different day, and the cooking on a third day. You can even prepare some of the chopping the day before the actual cooking. This activity can be tailored from the highest functioning Sapphire to the Emerald, in my experience. Even the other Gems, who can no longer engage in planning, should be involved when possible, even if it means watching you cook while they hold a carrot or something.

Laundry is a great activity for planning and strategizing!

We need to sort the clothes, and we also need to look at the sizes of the loads, so we don’t wash a load that is uneconomical because it is too small, right? (Any excuse to get the brain activated works) When do we need the particular piece of clothing?
Can it wait some days, so the load can grow bigger?
Which cycle should we use? How much time do we have today, how many loads. Ask for help even when you don’t need it, just be careful that it is not too obvious …

Most ADL’s can be used in this manner—Appropriate board games for higher functioning clients could be problem solving and sequencing games.

Mastermind (Perhaps only for Sapphire, but we mustn’t forget our Sapphires in our eager to help the other Gems).

Chess—Connect 4 stackers.

Solving problems with the help of clues, like logic puzzles. There are logic puzzles that you can download and print for free on the internet, and they vary in difficulty. Building with blocks, or playdoh really works multiple skills.Often pictures come along with this kind of activity, and you can ask the client to build a replica. This will activate planning, sequencing, attention to detail, and much more.

Texture Dominoes


Product Description

Touch-and-match dominoes feature six different textures to develop tactile discrimination. Each end, coded with a color and texture. Set of 28 dominoes (2-3/4″ x 1-3/8″ each). Stores in a sturdy wooden box.


Plumber’s Puzzle
Price: $45.50
This set with a hardwood mounting base (11″ x 3-112″),30 pieces of plastic pipe of various lengths, and 24 PVC connectors will encourage creative construction and manipulative motion. An independent activity that’s sure to appeal to you.
Product Number: 9718466C

Wood-Like Foam Blocks
Price: $37.75
Unique lightweight, wood-looking foam block set with block cut shapes for construction and building.
Blocks range in size from 1-1/4″ circle to 5-1/2″ x 2-3/4″ rectangle. Includes BO pieces.
Product Number: SN01819C

The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs and to determine whether making a lifestyle change or decision based on this information is appropriate for you.