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The Role of Executive Functioning in Social Interaction

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

Children aren’t born with the ability to engage in the skills and activities executive function will someday help them to perform. But over time, they will gradually develop these abilities—as they build new cognitive, emotional and social skills. Some might need extra help to do this!


What is Executive Functioning?

Simply stated, executive functioning allows your child (or anyone for that matter) to execute tasks. This developmental area includes a set of cognitive (mental) skills that help the child to plan, focus, remember and engage in multiple tasks at the same time. Working memory, flexible thinking and self-control come together to help the child set goals, inhibit impulses when needed, communicate effectively, understand someone else’s point of view, self-monitor, regulate emotions and use language.

How Can Children Develop Executive Functioning and Social Skills?


There is no “cure” or medication for executive functioning deficits. But there are strategies available that can help children to manage social situations, improve communication and build executive function skills. According to a 2014 research review published in the journal Frontiers of Psychology, social interactions can help to facilitate executive function development—and vice versa!


Keep in mind, there isn’t one type of social interaction strategy or one therapeutic approach that works well for every child. Again, each individual child has different overall needs -- and therefore different therapy needs. Beyond this, your child has their own preferences, expectations, goals and feelings about how, when and why they interact with others. These factors will be taken into consideration for your child's therapy, the types of social situations your child enters and the next steps they take. #speechtherapy #newjersey #autismnj

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