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Executive Functioning

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by

Christina Dalla Palu

on 8 January 2014

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Transcript of Executive Functioning

Case Study:
Tyler
Tyler has known about the math project for a week, and its due tomorrow. Mom will hit the roof when she checks his notebook tonight. He wants to do well in school, but whenever he gets long, complicated assignments, his brain goes into panic. He cannot imagine where to begin, so he doesn't. It never occurs to him to ask for help.
What function is he weak in?
Tyler's Failure to Launch:
What is Executive Functioning?
Textbook Definition:
The term used by neurologists to describe the brain processes that drive our ability to focus, solve problems, organize ourselves, remember information, learn from our mistakes, and manage impulses, all of which help us learn efficiently and develop important social skills (Blair, 2002).
Executive Functioning
What is Executive Functioning?
Working Definition:
An impairment that effects 6 major categories of brain functioning:
1. Planning and Problem Solving
2. Memory
3. Organization
4. Focusing Attention
5. Impulse Control
6. Self-Monitoring
Research says...
89-98% of ADHD diagnosed children have weaknesses in EF and can be as much as 3 yrs. behind normal developing peers.
Punishing a child with Executive Dysfunction can STALL the developmental process.
Life experiences, physical fitness, good nutrition, and sensitive adult guidance can all improve maturation of EF.
Tyler has difficulty with his problem solving and planning function. His lack of initiative is due to his feeling overwhelmed by the complexity of the task. He shuts down before he starts. Tyler has trouble visualizing the final product or the attributes needed for a quality product. He has no sense of urgency. How do we help him?
The audience is waiting!!!
Helping Tyler:
Provide a clear picture of project
Anticipate student's roadblocks and plan accordingly
Use rubrics and checklists to encourage self-monitoring skills
Celebrate successes
Teach time estimation- What does 10 minutes feel like?
Establish class/personal rountines
Ellie and Math Don't Mix
Ellie is in 5th grade and wants to do well in math. Memorizing facts has always been hard for her. She can complete the math worksheets, as long as, there are no time limits. Thought problems stop her in her tracks. By the time she reads the whole question, she can't remember what the first part said, so she guesses. What function is Ellie weak in?
Ellie's Math Solution:
Help to encode information by teaching in small, sequential steps
Create multiple storage and retrieval paths (auditory, visual, kinesthetic)
Provide repeated practice with multiple opportunities for quality feedback
Use Think-Alouds to demonstrate the process for problem-solving.
Case Study: Julio
Julio would rather eat glass then write a story. He is described as a cooperative and friendly 3rd grader. When faced with a writing assignment, he shuts down. He has strong cognitive abilities and linguistic skills, but his handwriting is awful. Julio can not remember the classroom routine and often is late with homework. He keeps mounds of old papers in his desk and cubby. What Executive Function is Julio missing?
Help for Julio:
Modeling, practice, and guidance throughout a process (Writing, Science, Math, etc.)
Model your organization
Highlight other student's organization
Access to word walls
Small, skill-specific writing groups
Peer revision and editing opportunities
Case Study: Lance
Lance has always had a hard time concentrating. He either slinks quietly into his own world or loudly, disrupts the class. Fooling around reduces his frustration and boredom but gets him in trouble. He has trouble reading fluently as his mind wonders during a story. He demonstrates a lot of unproductive activity. Where is he struggling?
Help for Lance:
Allowing movement and active engagement
Change pace of lessons
Practice transitions
Encourage self-monitoring
Highlight objective throughout the lesson
Directly teach subject-specific vocabulary
Melissa's Meltdowns
Melissa frequently announces that her classwork is pointless and refuses to do homework. She is a master at pushing the teachers buttons by arguing and challenging authority. She has a high desire for power and control due to an out-of-control home life. What EF is Melissa struggling with?
Help for Melissa:
Needs help identifying her emotional triggers
Teach self-calming techniques
Reframing expectations and perspectives
Self-monitoring, again :)
Opportunities to practice collaboration skills
Teacher feedback: Consistent and specific
Final Thoughts:
Don't label or punish students with EF weaknesses
Develop plans with the student, not for the student
Use the village, it takes one (I&RS)
Teach self-monitoring skills :)
Model, model, model then practice, practice, practice- Think Alouds
Deliver new/difficult skills in small group setting when able
Ellie and Math:
Ellie's working memory is mostly affected. She is not attentive during instruction due to her inability to encode information presented. Students that struggle with working memory issues can't chunk information into meaningful units. Also, Ellie does not see how information is connected.
Julio's Weakness
Julio needs help with organizing materials, space, and time. He needs a specific plan before he can get his work started. Neurological research shows that strategies that support the development of EF are at the heart of student success in school. Academic-based interventions will not work until organization is taught.
Lance .......
Lance's weakness is in his focusing abilities. Knowing what to focus on, how to sift information, and how to shift attention are necessary skills for reading comprehension. Lance wants to be a good student, but he runs out of mental energy when the tasks are long or complex. How do we help him?
Melissa continued....
Melissa is struggling with impulse control and self-monitoring. She needs help in articulating her feelings in an appropriate way. Melissa also needs to feel in control of certain aspects of her life and needs to accept that she won't have control over other areas. Self-calming techniques could help her in times of crisis.
Meet Robin
Cookie Monster Learns Self-Regulation
Full transcript