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27 Jan, Friday
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Montreal Families

Seminar offers tips to help kids plan and get organized

Children with learning disabilities may struggle to remember routine tasks, manage their time, and stay focused when doing homework. Oftentimes, this is because they’re having trouble with executive function, the part of the brain that gives us the ability to focus, follow directions, plan, manage time and be organized.

Children on the autism spectrum or with ADHD often have problems with executive function.

According to an expert in this field, Sarah Ward (pictured right), parents often get frustrated when they ask kids to get dressed, only to find them playing Lego or reading a magazine half an hour later. Children with executive function issues will hear the words, Ward said, but struggle to picture the steps required to complete the task.

When we utilize executive function skills, we imagine and play a movie in our head of how to carry out a task. For example, ‘go upstairs and get ready’ means we visualize walking up stairs, going to our room, getting our clothes out of the dresser, getting dressed and then going downstairs. But Ward said kids who lack these skills don’t play that movie in their heads.

On April 18, Ward will offer a full-day workshop for parents, teachers, social workers and school support staff who deal with kids who have executive function deficiencies.

She will teach participants how they can help kids envision carrying out future tasks, plan ahead and reach their goals, on their own.

Ward previously worked as a speech and language pathologist and at the Massachusetts General Hospital’s brain trauma unit. Her work included rehabilitating patients with frontal lobe injuries, which affect executive functioning.

This, coupled with her daughter having her own attention and executive function issues, has led to a 25 year career diagnosing and treating children, teenagers and young adults with learning disabilities such as ADD, verbal learning disabilities and Asperger’s syndrome, among others.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Ruby Foo’s Hotel and is presented by the Montreal Centre for Learning Disabilities. Tickets cost $50 or $25 for full-time students.

Members of the Montreal Centre for Learning Disabilities pay $40. Registration starts at 8:15 a.m on the day of the event.

For more information, visit ldmontreal.ca/2020-04-18.

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