Hi, I’m Rhonda DeYoung and this presentation discusses my literature review on executive functions development in typical children. I found there is a need in defining, labeling and researching typical children delayed in executive functions development.
Executive Functions is the term used to describe all the skills having to do with self-regulations and brain functions, involved in planning and executing tasks to completion. Executive functions come from the frontal lobe of the brain and are the last part of the brain to develop.
There are 5 important skills that sum up executive functionsWorking memory helps us keep track of information that is later recalled and used in sequential tasks in order to complete tasks.
Inhibitions or the use of self control represses natural emotions or reactions that lead to frustration and giving up.
Shifting allows us to switch from one task to the next with ease, so new directions or added instructions can be executed as needed.
Attention allows us to focus on the task at hand, keep distractions at bay and get the job done.
Motor skills help us keep the body’s fine and gross motor movements under control, Including postural control and sway.All of the executive functions skills work together in task completion
At birth, the primary areas of the brain are present, including connective structures of the frontal lobe. Connections of the brain develop through experience and maturing throughout childhood and adolescence and each cognitive skill arrives in its own unique time frame.In all, behavior and cognitions mature with age
Research has shown that there are developmental milestones of executive skills that occur during the preschool, middle childhood and adolescent years. Preschoolers: Have an onset of affective decision making abilities Are able to hold some information into memory Switch tasks Begin to use inhibition , but they Have the most sway of all age groups Children age 7-12 Have better working memory and storage skills Begin to plan and troubleshoot Are less impulsive Have better postural control Start using social cooperation Teens have more use of the frontal lobe They have an increase in working memory and can plan and trouble shoot better than younger children They have even better control of posture and sway There is a mastering of attentional commands and faster processing due to maturing of white brain matter Executive functions need to be in place, and on time for school readiness, and follow a typical trajectory for academic success throughout the school years.
Children delayed in executive functions development who are otherwise typical, free from any neuropsychiatric syndromes or conditions, can be defined as “delayed” and provided with cognitive “crutches” that help them function in school as development continues. Just as the child who doesn’t gain their full height as quick as the average child, may at times need the use of a stepstool, delayed executive functions children may need help: Starting, staying focused on and stopping tasks Organizing their methods and Keeping emotions in check to help them move along during the day
There are some theories about cognitive developmental differences, but not all is known as to why there is delay in typical children.
Delay in executive functions development can be 30% of typical development. A 30% delay can cause a 10-year old based on his birthday, to behave more like a 7-year old cognitively. Identification of delayed executive functions development can open the door to empirical research on ways to help these kids succeed Delayed executive functions children may also benefit from unique classroom adaptations that are custom tailored toward their individual deficits. This could mean: Allowing a child who is behind in development of working memory, to be given one or two procedures at a time, rather than four or five to follow.
A clear clinical label of delayed executive functions would assure the child not accept his circumstances as fixed, with a loss or stunted lack of cognitive skills. Being labeled as having a syndrome or dysfunction may cause a child not to have patients in themselves, and assume they will never be as able as their peers. Parents, educators and clinicians would realize these children are still developing cognitive skills, and not settle into a fixed view of the child as always being deficient. The need for a label of delayed executive functions is important for the child’s well being. Thank you.
Here are my references
Executive Function in Typical Children
Numerous skills are defined as Executive Functions (EF) These skills help a person to: Form a task Focus on task Fulfill the task EF is derived from the frontal lobe of the brain Located behind the forehead(Powell & Voeller, 2004)
Five crucial skills that sum up EF abilities 1. Working memory helps to: Keep track of information Recall information Remember how to conduct a procedure (Best, Miller & Jones, 2009)
Five crucial skills that sum up EF abilities 2. Inhibition helps to: Keep control of self Appropriately deal with frustration Focus attention when working on tasks (Best, Miller & Jones, 2009; Ciairano, Visu-Petra & Settanni, 2007; Nilsen & Graham, 2009; Riggs, Jahromi, Razza, Dillworth-Bart & Mueller, 2006)
Five crucial skills that sum up EF abilities 3. Shifting helps to: Stop one procedure Move on to a new procedure Adapt to change (Ciairano, Visu-Petra & Settanni, 2007)
Five crucial skills that sum up EF abilities 4. Attention helps to: Keep on-task Ignore distractions (Best, Miller & Jones, 2009)
Five crucial skills that sum up EF abilities 5. Motor skills help to: Control body movement Control sway (Miyake, Friedman, Shah, Rettinger & Hegarty, 2001; Reilly, Van Donkelaar, Saavedra & Woollacott, 2008)
Major parts of the frontal lobe: Are present at birth Connect with other parts of the brain through: Experience Maturing Develop throughout childhood and the teen years EF Skills each arrive in their own unique timeframe (Conklin, Luciana, Hooper & Yarger, 2007; Stuss, 1992)
Cognitive Development 8 7 6Amount of Ability 5 4 Preschool 3 Childhood Adolescence 2 1 0 Make Memory Shifting Inhibition Others Postural Social Processing Decisions Point of Control Cooperation Speed View EF Skill (Best, Miller & Jones, 2009; Davidson, Amso, Anderson & Diamond, 2006; Liston, Watts, Tottenham, Davidson, Niogi & Ulug, 2006; Powell & Voeller, 2004; Reilly, Van Donkelaar, Saavedra & Wollacott, 2008)
Typical children can be behind average peers in the development of EF Cognitive crutches can help delayed EF child keep up with average peers in the classroom (Best, Miller & Jones, 2009; Blair, 2002; Brocki & Bohlin, 2004; Meltzer, 2007)
Possible reasons for EF developmental delays in typical children Preterm birth Frontostriatal connectivity Not all is known why delay occurs Deficits can cause problems in the classroom Starting, staying focused on and competing tasks (Cornelieke, Aarnoundse-Moens, Smidts, Oosterlaan, Duivenvoodren & Weisglas- Kuperus, 2009)
Delay in EF development can be 30% that of typical development 10-year-old cognitively behaves like a 7-year-old Empirical research of EF loss from dementia can be applied to delayed EF children New research on delayed EF development can look at how to help children in the classroom(McCloskey, 2009)
Identify delayed EF children A clinical label of delayed EF Often mislabeled as learning dysfunction “Classroom crutches” Allow new research in the matter Provide hope for children that EF skill are still growing Help others to understand that the cognitive skills are still growing in these children (Carroll & Reppucci, 1978) The need for a label of delayed EF is prudent for the child’s well being both in the classroom and in social settings.
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