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Executive Function in Typical Children


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as part of an independent research study at Metro State College Denver, I learned and wrote about Executive Fuction development in children

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Executive Function in Typical Children

  1. 1. Rhonda DeYoung
  2. 2.  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)
  3. 3.  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)
  4. 4.  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)
  5. 5.  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)
  6. 6.  Five crucial skills that sum up EF abilities  4. Attention helps to:  Keep on-task  Ignore distractions (Best, Miller & Jones, 2009)
  7. 7.  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)
  8. 8.  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)
  9. 9. 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)
  10. 10.  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)
  11. 11.  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)
  12. 12.  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)
  13. 13.  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.
  14. 14. Best, J., Miller, P., & Jones, L. (2009). Executive functions after age 5: Changes and correlates. Developmental Review, 29.Blair, C. (2002). School readiness: Integrating cognition and emotion in a neurobiological conceptualization of childrens functioning at school entry. American Psychologist, 57(2).Bull, R., Espy, K., & Wiebe, S. (2008). Short-term memory, working memory, and executive functioning in preschoolers: Longitudinal predictors of mathematical achievement at age 7 years. Developmental Neuropsychology, 33(3).Carroll, C., & Reppucci, D. (1978). Meanings that professionals attach to labels for children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 46(2).Ciairano, S., Visu-Petra, L., & Settanni, M. (2007). Executive inhibitory control and cooperative behavior during early school years: A follow-up study. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 35(335-345).Conklin, H., Luciana, M., Hooper, C., & Yarger, R. (2007). Working memory performance in typically developing children and adolescents: Behavioral evidence of protracted frontal lobe development. Developmental Neuropsychology, 3(1).Cornelieke, Aarnoundse-Moens, Smidts, Oosterlaan, Duivenvoodren, & Weisglas-Kuperus. (2009). Executive function in very preterm at early school age. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 37.Davidson, M. C., Amso, D., Anderson, L. C., & Diamond, A. (2006) Development of cognitive control and executive functions from 4 to 13 years: Evidence from manipulations of memory, inhibition, and task switching. Advances in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 44(11), 2037-2078Diamond, A. (2000). Close interrelations of motor development and cognitive development and the cerebellum and prefrontal cortex. Child Development. 71(1), 44-56Greene, J., Hodges, J., & Baddeley, A. (1995). Autobiographical memory and executive function in early dementia of Alzheimer type. Neuropsychologia, 33(12).Kerr, A., & Philip David Zelazo. (2004). Development of "hot" executive function: the childrens gambling task. Brain and Cognition, 55.Liston, C., Watts, R., Tottenham, N., Davidson, M., Niogi, S., Ulug, A., & Casey, B.J. (2006). Fontostriatal microstructure modulates efficient recruitment of cognitive control. Cerebral Cortex, 16.Mazzocco, and Kover. (2007). A longitudinal assessment of executive function skills and their association with math performance. Child Neuropsychology, 13(1).McCloskey, G. (2009). Executive function development: Lines and levels. In Assessment and intervention for executive function difficulties (p. 72). New York: Taylor & Francis Group-Rutledge.Meltzer, L. (Ed.). (2007). Executive function in the classroom: Embedding strategy instruction into daily teaching practices. In Executive function in education: From theory to practice (pp. 165-186). New York: The Guilford Press.Miyake, A., Friedman, N., Shah, P., Rettinger, D. A., & Hegarty, M. (2001). How are visuospatial working memory, executive functioning, and spatial abilities related? A latent-variable analysis. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 130(4).Nilsen, E., & Graham, S. (2009). The relations between childrens communicative perspective-taking and executive functioning. Cognitive Psychology, 58.Powell, K. B., & Voeller, K. K. S. (2004). Prefrontal executive function syndromes in children. Journal of Child Neurology, 19.Reilly, D., Van Donkelaar, P., Saavedra, S., & Woollacott, M. (2008). Interaction between the development of postural control and the executive function of attention. Journal of Motor Behavior, 40(2).Riggs, N., Jahromi, L., Razza, R., Dillworth-Bart, J., & Mueller, U. (2006). Executive function and the promotion of social-emotional competence. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 27.Stuss, Donald, (1992). Biological and psychological development of executive functions. Brain and Cognition, 20, 8-23.Tsujimoto, S. (2008). The prefrontal cortex: Functional neural development during early childhood. The Neuroscientist, 14(4), 345-358