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OT Corner: My Teen Struggles with Executive Function

[Source;  Harvard Grad School of Education]

It was January 2021. Our son Jack’s second term as a freshman in high school had just ended. Two weeks earlier, my husband and I scanned the school’s database to check his grades. We counted more than 20 missing assignments.

A bright, conscientious, and capable teen, Jack had often struggled with organization and procrastination, especially with research and writing assignments. But this time was different, and the pandemic was to blame. He was doing his freshman year of high school partially from home — where, on alternating weeks, he did his schoolwork on his own time, and, for the most part, without teacher engagement.

The freedom was too much, he told me recently. “I could literally do a million other things rather than my assignments,” and admitted that one of them was watching Netflix. “When a teacher walks around the classroom, you want to be on task, and you don’t want to fall behind the other students,” he says about that in-person accountability he was missing from his teachers and peers.

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