The Role of Executive Functions in Childhood Learning and Behavior. George McCloskey. Plain Talk About Reading February 9-11, 2015 New Orleans

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1 The Role of in Childhood Learning and Behavior George McCloskey Plain Talk About Reading February 9-11, 2015 New Orleans

2 About the Presenter George McCloskey George McCloskey, Ph.D., is a professor and director of school psychology research in the Psychology Department of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He frequently presents at national, regional and state meetings on cognitive and neuropsychological assessment and intervention topics. He consults with a number of school districts and private schools in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and California on issues related to improving students self-regulation capacities in the classroom, behavior management, assessment and intervention for executive functions difficulties related to academic and behavior problems, balanced literacy reading and writing instruction, and implementation of RTI. George is the lead author of Assessment and Intervention for Executive Function Difficulties and author of Essentials of Assessment. He has also been involved in test development and publishing activities for more than 25 years. He directed the development of the WISC-IV Integrated and was a Senior Research Director and the Clinical Advisor to the Wechsler Test Development Group for The Psychological Corporation (now part of Pearson) and Associate Director of Test Development for AGS (now Pearson). About CDL Founded in 1992, the Center for Development and Learning (CDL) is a results-driven 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. CDL s mission is to improve the life chances of all children, especially those at high risk, by increasing school success. We believe that all children, regardless of how they look, where they come from, or how they learn, can and will achieve school success when provided with highly fective teachers and positive, supportive learning environments. CDL s services fall into three silos: 1. Evidence-based professional development for teachers, principals, teacher leaders, related specialists, paraprofessionals, parents and caregivers 2. Direct services to students 3. Public engagement of stakeholders at all levels CDL s professional learning services comprise approximately 85% of our work. For over 18 years, we have been a trusted source of specialized professional learning services for educators. CDL s professional learning is designed, facilitated, evaluated and adjusted to meet the needs of the learners. In collaboration with school and district leaders and teachers, we examine student and teacher data and build professional learning in response to student and teacher performance. We evaluate progress frequently and adjust accordingly. We have special expertise in literacy, building collaborative capacity, leadership and talent management, high-yield teaching strategies and tactics, differentiated instruction, and learner-specific instruction. Call us we are ready to serve you. One Galleria Blvd., Suite 903 Metairie, LA Phone: (504) Fax: (504) Web:

3 The Role of Executive Functions in Childhood Learning and Behavior Presented by George McCloskey, Ph.D. Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine or Benits of Yawning Stimulates alertness & concentration Optimizes brain activity and metabolism Improves cognitive functioning Increases memory recall Enhances consciousness and introspection Lowers stress Relaxes every part of your body Improves voluntary muscle control Enhances athletic skills Fine tunes your sense of time Increases empathy and social awareness Enhances pleasure and sensuality Naïve: First exposure to the task; responses required immediately; high demand for executive functions (EFs) Practiced: Time given to rehearse responses to the task; minimal demand for EFs Novel: Second exposure to the task, but responses required immediately to a set of all new items; moderate demand for EFs Thoughts Task Performance is directed by Executive Functions or an substitute. The neural networks used to perform a task depend on perceptions about how the task should be done. EFs Emotions Actions Perceptions The Center for Development and Learning 1

4 : Directive capacities of the mind Multiple in nature, not a single capacity Part of neural circuits that are routed through the frontal lobes Cue the use of other mental capacities Direct and control perceptions, thoughts, actions, and to some degree emotions All Assessment of the Use or Disuse of Hinges on Carul Observation of Behavior. Behavior Observation and Inferences about Brain Function What s the difference between a Similarities Scaled Score of 12 (75 th percentile) and a Similarities Scaled Score of 12 (75 th percentile)? Most of what a teacher says to students is intended to activate specific areas of the students brains. The more specific the language used by a teacher, the more likely it is that students will be activating the necessary brain areas. The Center for Development and Learning 2

5 and Intelligence The concept of executive functions is not synonymous with the traditional concepts of intelligence or IQ Executive functions often are not directly assessed with standard intelligence tests What Are? Despite the frequency with which it is mentioned in the neuropsychological literature, the concept of executive functions is one that still awaits a formal dinition. Research forts aimed at exploring the different aspects of this construct have often yielded contradictory evidence, resulting in a lack of clarity and even controversy regarding the true nature of executive abilities. Jurado & Rosselli, 2007, page 213. The Wisdom of Kurt Lewin There is nothing more prac cal than a good theory. Known for his field theory of behavior that posits that human behavior is a func on of an individual s psychological environment. Are Not a Unitary Trait Appropriate Metaphors for Executive Functions: The conductor and section leaders of the mind s Orchestra The management structure of a multinational mind corporation The coaching staff of team mind E m o t i o n Domains of Functioning Directed by Action Cognition Perception Action Executive control of modes of output including behavior in the external world and storage and retrieval of internal representations Cognition Executive control of thoughts and thought processing Perception Executive control of modes of perceptual input including external sensory stimuli (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) and internal (representational) stimuli Emotion Executive control of moods, feelings, and the processing of emotions Co-Conductors in a Holarchical Model of EF EF EF Ac va on The Center for Development and Learning 3

6 EF Tiers within the Holarchical Model of Executive Functions EF Trans-Self Integration EF Activation Self-Realization Self-Awareness Other-Awareness Self-Analysis Perceive Focus Sustain Energize Initiate Inhibit Stop Interrupt Flexible Shift Modulate Self-Generation Self-Regulation Self-Activation Self-Determination Goal setting Long-range Planning & Foresight Monitor Correct Balance Gauge Anticipate Estimate Time Analyze Generate Associate Organize Prioritize Plan Evaluate/Compare Decide Sense Time Pace Sequence Execute Hold Manipulate Store Retrieve Executive Functions cue and direct in different ways at different levels. It is important to distinguish between Executive Skills and. Self Regulation Executive Skills Executive Skills involve the use of neural networks routed throughout the brain to perform specific tasks (e.g., attending, inhibiting, modulating, planning, organizing, associating). Self Regulation involve the part of the executive network that is routed through the frontal lobes and that is used to cue, direct, and coordinate the use of executive skills and other mental capacities. Self-regulation can be organized into 7 basic clusters. The Center for Development and Learning 4

7 SREF Clusters The 33 self-regulation executive functions can be grouped based on Clusters in which several srs are used in an integrative manner. There are seven primary clusters to consider. SREF Clusters Attention Engagement Optimization Efficiency Memory Inquiry Solution Self Regulation Executive Function Clusters ATTENTION Perceive Focus Sustain MEMORY Hold Manipulate Store Retrieve EFFICIENCY Sense Time Pace Sequence Execute ENGAGEMENT Energize Initiate Inhibit Stop Pause Flexible Shift INQUIRY Anticipate Gauge Analyze Estimate Time Evaluate OPTIMIZATION Monitor Modulate Balance Correct SOLUTION Generate Associate Prioritize Plan Organize Decide Effective use of can vary by Arena of Involvement as well as by Domain of Functioning. Arenas of Involvement Intrapersonal Control of Self in Relation to Self Environment Control of Self in Relation to Surroundings Interpersonal Control of Self in Relation to Others Symbol System Control of Self in Relation to Academics (Reading, Writing, Math) are developing form birth; maturational delays can cause difficulties. The Center for Development and Learning 5

8 Executive Function Development Some EF-based clinical syndromes, such as ADHD, demonstrate clear patterns of delayed developmental progression. Barkley (1998) estimates developmental delays of about 30% associated with various EF processes such as Inhibit, Manipulate, Shift, Sustain, Time, Monitor, Correct. Developmental Progression with a 30% Delay E F A G E E Q Chronological Age EF Development does not progress by continuous equal intervals EF Development does not progress by continuous equal intervals Virtually all individuals who struggle with psychological disorders exhibit executive function difficulties. Executive Function Dicits ADHD All individuals with ADHD exhibit EF dicits but not all individuals that exhibit EF dicits are ADHD. The Center for Development and Learning 6

9 and ADHD? All individuals with ADHD have executive functions dicits Executive Function Dicits ADHD but not all individuals with executive functions dicits have ADHD. and ADHD EF and ADHD are not synonymous terms; rather ADHD is a condition involving EF dicits in: Focus/Select, Sustain, Inhibit, Modulate Nearly all persons with ADHD also have additional self-regulation difficulties; the nature of these additional difficulties is what makes ADHD so variable from one person to the next and what causes confusion in diagnosis. Different Constellations Perceive Perceive Energize Initiate Stop Interrupt Same Core Energize Initiate Stop Interrupt Shift Flexible Focus Shift Monitor Correct Balance Sustain Monitor Correct Balance Gauge Modulate Gauge Est Time Associate Generate Focus Sustain Modulate Inhibit Flexible Anticipate Different Constellations Anticipate Analyze Inhibit Est Time Analyze Associate Generate Organize Plan Evaluate Decide Organize Plan Evaluate Sense Time Sequence Pace Execute Alan Age 10 Katie Age 11 Decide Sense Time Sequence Pace Execute Hold Manipulate Store Retrieve Hold Manipulate Store Retrieve activation can be internally or externally driven; EFs can cue the use of learned strategies. Internal versus External Control The neural circuits for executive function activation are routed differently depending on whether the activation is based on an internally driven desire or command versus an external demand. Internal versus External Control Because internally driven production is much easier to accomplish than externally demanded production for children with producing difficulties their lack of production on demand often stands in stark contrast to their seemingly fortless production when the spirit moves them. The Center for Development and Learning 7

10 Internal versus External Control The on-demand diciencies observed by others are often attributed to negative personal characteristics such as lack of responsibility, apathy, passive aggressive stance, or oppositional diance. Adolescent and Adult Engagement of Self-Regulation Executive Functions Internal Command Teach how to selfregulate in a way that increases the desire to self-regulate External Demand Pathway External Demand??? Extrinsic Rewards & Punishments Nucleus Accumbens Internal Command Pathway: Intrinsically Rewarding Producing difficulties are different from learning difficulties; producing difficulties rlect poor use of EFs. vs Producing versus Learning Executive Function difficulties of a severe nature (especially in the Symbol System Arena) do not result in Learning Difficulties; they result in Producing Difficulties. vs A General Model for Conceptualizing Learning and Producing Difficulties EF Intervention Continuum Learning Difficulties Only Learning Difficulties And Producing Difficulties Producing Difficulties Only Often NOT recognized as a Learning Disability, even when severe, unless an evaluation involving process assessment is done Recognized fairly quickly as a Learning Disability When severe, typically attributed to lack of motivation, character flaws, or behavior/personality problems Orienting Strategies External Control Strategies Bridging Strategies Internal Control Strategies The Center for Development and Learning 8

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