Executive Functioning What is it? What does it look like? Presented By: Jamee Riggio Heelan, OTR/L Occupational Therapist

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1 Executive Functioning What is it? What does it look like? Presented By: Jamee Riggio Heelan, OTR/L Occupational Therapist

2 Definition of Executive per Google * Adjective: Executive: having the power to put plans, actions or laws into effect * Noun: Executive: a person with senior managerial responsibility in a business organization. Aronsonblog.com

3 Executive Skills in a Child * Think of your child s Business as their own Body. * Think of their Managerial skills as how they Manage their own body- * How good is your child at controlling their self control? * How good are they at managing themself? * Can they get themself up and ready for school? * Can they manage their time well? * Can they plan and sequence each step of their day? * How they manage themselves at home carries over at school What happens if part of their executive skills break down? **They may not be as successful in school or at home.**

4 How We Develop and Become Executives of Our Own Body / Actions When do the skills begin to develop? Early Childhood Children: Inhibitory Control Working Memory Preschool: Inhibitory Control Working Memory Cognitive flexibility Goal Directed Behavior Planning

5 How We Develop and Become Executives of Our Own Body / Actions Pre- Adolecence: Elementary Aged- - Increases noted in verbal working memory - Goal directed behavior (potential spurt ~12 years) - Response to inhibition and selective attention - Strategic planning - Organizational Skills Heighten 8-10 years: Cognitive flexibility in particular begins to match adult levels

6 Talents of the Brain Inhibitions Organizing sequencing Planning Working Memory

7 How to Teach Executive Skills in Your Child I want to be the Executive of my own body! Simplify your child s environment Provide structure whenever possible Use pictures to build memory and to simplify understanding and organizational skills Use calendars and picture cards to build a foundation for time management and sequencing (First / Then) Teach problem solving when picking out clothes for a particular day depending upon the weather

8 Early Childhood, Pre- K & Elementary Executive Functioning Skills Teach by example: Follow rules and put toys away Teach Organization: Find a home base for all their toys Use color bins, drawers, zip lock bags Get them involved early: Give them a task and make it fun - feeding pets - wiping cabinets, door handles - setting the dinner table - putting away groceries - putting away dishes or cups - sorting laundry - pick out clothes for school Reward them: Ice cream treat, stickers, or book

9 Executive Function is a Set of Mental Processes That Helps Connect Past Experiences Present Learning Planning Organizing Paying attention Remembering details Managing time Managing one s space

10 Completing a Task One may use newly learned skills to get to the end of a task, but one may lean on previous learned skills to help them advance to the end with greater success. project

11 One Example of How One Uses Executive Functioning Skills- How to Prepare a Sandwich Planning tools needed, organizing space, sequencing steps, time management, and managing work space

12 usablealgebra.landmark.edu

13 When There are Detours in our Executive Functioning Skills in the Brain Teachers, Parents & Coaches can teach children Strategies that will decrease their frustration level and build Greater Success Frustration Sets in

14 Executive Skills of The Brain understandingwilliamssyndrome.blogspot.com

15 Our Goal is to Make a Difference in The Lives of Our Children services/

16 Time to Take a Closer Look Into Intermediate School Aged Children Thank you for listening to Part I of our 3 part session. Alderkoten.com

17

18 Executive Functioning in the Intermediate School * Karyn McElroy * Reading Specialist and Literacy Coach * Fremont Intermediate School

19 Executive Functioning * Executive Functioning describes the brain s process for understanding, processing, and organizing information in our environment * Executive functioning influences the successful fluctuations in human life

20 What does someone with EF issues look like? There are visible struggles in the classroom like ~initiating a task ~following multi- step directions needed to complete a task ~breaking down the steps to complete a larger task into smaller, more manageable parts ~turning things in There are visible struggles in motor learning because the student is required to observe and/or hear the steps of motor tasks (independently break each step down) then organize and remember the steps in sequence to perform them due to this, they often cannot keep up with their same age peers on the playground at recess or in PE which has a negative impact on their social standing with the class Additionally, there are fine motor skills influenced such as displaying a struggle with handwriting, shoe- tying, getting materials into and out of their backpacks and tend to limit their artistic abilities

21 Key: Organizing Time inside and outside of school is VERY challenging for students with EF issues * They cannot figure out how to go to baseball practice, complete a book report for next week, remember to pack a snack or simply get it out of their bookbag, and/or how to plan for events * Book report: - Read certain pages each night, buy posterboard, locate markers, write one part of the summary after each chapter, etc

22 DIVERSE ACTIVITES have been shown to improve children s executive functioning skills * Diverse activities force children to think differently than before and encourages creativity * Children need to think creatively to devise solutions never considered before * This is challenging as it is primarily and narrowly depended on the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is what needs to be activated in order to change the patterns of their normal behavior

23 Facts: * Executive Functioning development is more reliable in school readiness than IQ!!!!! * Executive Functioning skills continue to predict math and reading competence throughout all school years!!!! * Clearly, to improve school readiness and academic success, targeting Executive Functioning skills is crucial. * It is also critical for success throughout life in terms of social relationships, career, and in positive mental and physical health. * In fact, children with worse self- control (less persistence, more impulsivity, and poorer attention regulation) at ages 3-11 tend to have worse health, earn less, and commit more crimes 30 years later than those with better self- control as children, controlling for IQ, gender, social class and more! * Since self- control s effects follow a (linear) gradient, interventions that achieve even a small improvements in self- control for individuals could shift the entire distribution of outcomes in a salutary direction and yield large improvements in health, wealth, and crime rate for a nation.

24 Supporting Development Diverse activities shown to improve children s executive functions: * ~Working memory computer games * ~Non- computerized games * ~Aerobic exercise, sports, and music training (social and processing) * ~Martial- arts * ~Yoga * ~Mindfulness teaching * ~School curricula related to EF directly

25 TECHNOLOGY * Needs to be limited * Cell phones off and in parents hands at night * No computers or TVs on during the night * The attention span of students is diminishing as a result of over stimulation and lack of sleep

26 Mindset: set of beliefs or a way of thinking that determines one s behavior, outlook, and mental attitude Fixed Mindset Growth Mindset Views challenges as threatening Failure is something to be feared Anxious, rigid responses Motivated to remain the same, fixed Traditional praise Feel entitled about performance Crystal intelligence Ignore feedback Threatened by the success of others Give up easily Views challenges as engaging Failure is related to success Energized and flexible Motivated to grow, develop Enjoys recognition of effort Confident you can meet challenges Fluid intelligence Learn from criticism Inspired by others success Persist despite obstacles

27 Notes: * Parental Goals for your Child: * 1. * 2. * 3.

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