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Executive Function

Does your child have trouble planning, prioritizing, and organizing information? Well, if he or she does, you may want to put Michael Gladstein’s phone number on speed dial. Gladstein, a school psychologist, special education teacher and educational consultant, specializes in working with elementary to colleged-aged students with Executive Function skills. Michael first conducts a series of psychoeducational assessments to ascertain a student’s current executive functioning skills and then links these results to hands-on practical executive functioning interventions.
Executive function is the ability to plan, prioritize and organize information. If you can do those things, you can use your intellectual abilities to their fullest, he said in a recent phone interview.  However, if you do not have these skills, your intelligence can be off the charts, but you will not be as successful in life as those who do have these skills, he described. For example, if you have a poor attention span or you feel a lot of anxiety, your brain is unable to process efficiently, thus you can not plan, prioritize or organize the information in front of you.

Gladstein spoke at the Oct. 5th Resource Konnection held at the Kinetic Konnections Park Ridge office. He has partnered on many occassion with Cara Lindell in hopes of helping children acquire executive functioning skills. Once a child’s neuromuscular function has improved (often affecting sensory processing), then Gladstein is happy to take over from there. Due to Gladstein’s background, his focus is to help children in a school environment, which ultimately through his coaching will help them in the outside world as well. He works with children diagnosed with a range of disorders including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and sensory integration disorder. Often these students come to him with poor executive function skills. Other times he sees individuals who do acquire a little executive functioning skills, but they are developed much slower than the general population. Whatever the particular circumstances, Gladstein customizes the executive functioning process to meet the needs of all learners at all ages.

The main theme Gladstein applies to his coaching is self-questioning strategies and whole-to-part analysis. Once a person can ask themselves questions regarding their day, then they are able to plan, prioritize and organize. First, he will have students organize their materials for school each day. Then they begin a homework routine and self-monitoring at the end of the day. Once they can accomplish these tasks, they begin looking at project planning and “whole-to-part” anaylsis, as well as how this correlates with written expression. Gladstein said the amount of time he works with a student depends on the needs of the child. Sometimes it is only 8 weeks, while other times it could be two years, he added.
Gladstein, who consults in Northfield and Chicago, has developed school-wide written expression and executive functioning programs to meet the needs of all learners. He also conducts comprehensive psycho-educational assessments and provides direct executive functioning and writing instruction. Gladstein received his Ed.S. in school psychology from Loyola University Chicago and his M.A. in Special Education-Learning Disabilities from Northeastern Illinois University. For further information, he can be contacted at 847-644-8005.