Separating Details from the Big Picture

Posted on December 27, 2016 · Posted in Parent Tips

One of the biggest barriers to success in school for adolescents and teens with executive functioning difficulties can be figuring out how to separate details from the “big picture.” When reading a textbook chapter, organizing information for a project, writing a paper, or even just figuring out what homework to do tonight, it can be difficult to prioritize information to help us make decisions and organize our thoughts. 

A helpful visual for your child may be the Big Picture/Details Pyramid found here. This can help classify what information is necessary or critical to understanding or completion of a task, and what information is important but not absolutely crucial to successful completion or understanding. Lastly, relevant details are facts that we may find interesting or applicable, but are not necessarily important for successful completion or understanding of the task. 
As the space on the pyramid shows, there are many more supplemental or relevant details than their are critical items, which is why it can be hard for teens with executive functioning to wade through the giant ocean of information. Helping them understand that not every detail is important to being successful will help organize tasks and take away a bit of the stress involved!