Occupational Therapy helps kids attend and learn at school

Skills for School

Does your child:

  • Have difficulty focusing at school
  • Loses attention quickly
  • Daydreams a lot and can get going on their school tasks
  • Difficulty moving between activities at school
  • Difficulty controlling emotions/outbursts at school

Their executive skills might need a boost or some strategies to help them be successful learners.


Executive functions/skills are our higher-level skills that help us to:


  • Initiate – get started on a task or instruction
  • Inhibit – inhibit impulse actions, thoughts or behaviours at the appropriate time
  • Shift – ability to move between activities and tasks smoothly
  • Emotional Control – our ability to monitor and regulate our emotions and emotional responses
  • Working Memory – hold information in our mind and use it in what we do e.g. remembering 3 directions and carrying all three out
  • Planning – plan what we need to do to get a task finished
  • Organisation of materials – organise our belongings to that we can find them and use them consistently
  • Self-Monitor – monitor our behaviours and actions in relation to others
  • Task-Monitor – monitor what we are doing in a task to ensure we follow through on our plan and complete it the way we need to


Why do children need executive skills at school?


During the school day, children are expected to remember the routine or reference to it so that they can hold in all their jiggles until the appropriate time – play break; they are expected to remember verbal instructions given in 2’s and 3’s by their teacher and carry out these tasks without disrupting others and without forgetting.

Children at school are expected to have a go at tasks, even when they are hard, and they are expected to manage their emotions surrounding hard or complex tasks. If something special comes up within the school day, they are also expected to manage the change and adapt to the new schedule and routine. Amongst all this, they are expected to remember and follow the school rules and the “hidden curriculum” or expectations that the school staff have for the students.


Wow, doesn’t that look like a large load of things our kids have to remember and do at school!


In the ever growing demands placed on children at school and increasingly complex tasks needing to be completed at younger ages, some kids get a little left behind and need a few extra strategies and prompts to be able to complete all the things expected of them in the school environment.


Occupational therapists are here to help with this attention and focus!


Occupational therapists are able to understand your child’s executive functioning/skills through assessment and develop strategies alongside you and your child to help them to carry out all the tasks that are expected of them at school.


If you feel that your child is having difficulty with any of the above or want to chat to one of our occupational therapists about your child’s executive skills, please don’t hesitate to call or contact us here at Cooee.

You can also book an Executive Functioning Assessment online here!