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Organization Executive Functioning Mill Valley Middle School September 27 2011

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					   Executive Functioning
   Mill Valley Middle School
   September 27, 2011

 Barbara Easterlin, Ph.D.

  Assistant Clinical Professor, UCSF Hyperactivity, Attention, and Learning Problems (HALP)   Clinic and UC Berkeley
  Clinical Psychology Department

  Licensed Clinical Psychologist




  415-847-2540
  21 Tamal Vista Blvd., Suite 101
  Corte Madera, California 94925
The “CEO” of the Brain
 The parts of the
  brain that
     takes in information,

     decides on a course of
      action,

     issues commands via
      rank in a hierarchy, and

     ensures that commands
      are implemented
What is Executive Functioning

 Generally conceptualized as the brain’s
  ability to

   absorb or conceptualize information,

   interpret this information, and

   make decisions and carries through actions
    based on this information.
Early Development of EF
 New research suggests that imaginal play
  behavior is integral to the development of
  the neural pathways that strengthen
  executive functioning: making things from
  scratch, planning out made-up games, role
  playing
 These skills are diminished by playing
  videogames, using toys that are already
  constructed, sedentary viewing of screens
Early Development of Executive
Functions
EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS IN MIDDLE
SCHOOL (starting to develop)
 Regulating (sustaining) attention & effort

 Task Initiation & persistence

 Planning, time management & organization

 Good Decision making/judgment

 Understanding impact on others -- “self monitoring”

 Development of idealism & dreams
EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS IN MIDDLE
SCHOOL, cont.
   Dealing with Novelty

   Holding information in “working memory”

   Impulse control; “parking” irrelevant information, block out
    distractions

   Mental Flexibility

   Frustration tolerance & emotional control

   Social awareness

   Seeing the big picture
PRE-TEEN/TEEN EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS
organization, concentration, time management & task prioritization,
impulse inhibition/emotional control & motivation




                 h
                               PRE-TEEN
                              EXECUTIVE
                              FUNCTIONS




                      hello
PRE-TEEN/TEEN EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS (without
adult supervision)




             h


                         ENTITLEMENT




                 hello                 hello
What happens when EF is not
working correctly?
   Impulsivity
   Disinhibition (behavioral or verbal)
   Emotional Reactivity
   Social inappropriateness
   Distractibility
   Making bad decisions
   Difficulty starting tasks; lateness
   Poor organization
   Lateness
Lazy Kid or Executive
Dysfunction?
 Does your child seem lazy, intentionally
  forgetful, unmotivated, deliberately late?

 Does your child know information but can’t
  communicate it in a logical sequence?

 Do you have a child who is constantly
  distracted?

 Does your child seem impatient, disorganized,
  and constantly losing things?
Executive Dysfunction
 Students with executive dysfunction have
  problems of a neurobiological nature that
  particularly affect planning, flexibility,
  organization, and self monitoring (Ozonoff,
  1998).
 These individuals may have difficulty
  picking a topic, planning the project,
  sequencing the materials for a paper,
  breaking the project down into manageable
  units with intermediate deadlines, getting
  started, and completing the activity
5 most important middle school
skills for success
 Organization

 Time management &
  Prioritization

 Concentration

 Flexibility & Emotional
  control

 Motivation
1. Organization

  Whether it's keeping track of research materials or
  remembering to bring home a lunch box, children
  need to be organized to succeed in school. For many
  students, academic challenges are related more to a
  lack of organization than to a lack of intellectual
  ability.
ORGANIZATION – SUCCESS!
   Make a checklist of things your child needs to bring to and
    from school every day. Put a copy by the door at home and
    one in his backpack. Try to check with him each day to see
    if he remembers the items on the list.

   Find out how your child keeps track of his homework and
    how he organizes his notebooks. Then work together to
    develop a system he will want to use.

   Shop with your child for tools that will help him stay
    organized, such as binders, folders or an assignment book.

   Use colored folders and in/out baskets for organizing
    homework

   Clean out desk, backpack and notebook once a week
2a. Time Management
 Learning to schedule enough time to
  complete an assignment may be
  difficult for your student. Even when
  students have a week to do a project,
  many won't start until the night
  before it's due. Learning to organize
  time into productive blocks takes
  practice and experience.
TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS
 Use a visual calendar – with overall plan for the day,
  week, month for activities and assignments

 Track assignments on the calendar. Work backward
  from the due date of larger assignments and break
  them into nightly tasks

 Add in intermediate deadlines to show work to
  teacher at intervals rather than at end

 Highlight due dates or test dates
TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS
   Help your child record how much time she spends on homework
    each week so she can figure out how to divide this time into
    manageable chunks.

   Break down assignments into steps

   Plan for twice as much time as you think you need

   Use a timer and reward for “chunks” of work completed

   Together, designate a time for nightly homework and help your
    child stick to this schedule. DEVELOP A ROUTINE

   If evenings aren't enough, help your child find other times for
    schoolwork, such as early mornings, study halls or weekends. Use
    weekends to track upcoming assignments
2b. Prioritization


 Sometimes children fall behind in school and fail to
  hand in assignments because they simply don't know
  where to begin.

 Prioritizing tasks is a skill your child will need
  throughout life, so it's never too soon to get started.
  The ability to create a roadmap to reach a goal or to
  complete a task.

 Especially important for Long Term Projects and
  Written Expression
PRIORITIZATION – SUCCESS!
 Ask your child to write down all the things he needs to
  do, including non-school-related activities.
 Ask him to label each task from 1 to 3, with 1 being
  most important.
 Ask about each task, so that you understand your
  child's priorities. If he labels all his social activities as
  1, then you know where his attention is focused.
 Help your child change some of the labels to better
  prioritize for academic success. Then suggest he
  rewrite the list so all the 1s are at the top.
 Make checklists for getting through assignments
3. Concentration
 Whether your child is practicing his
  sixth grade spelling words or studying
  for an advanced algebra test, it's
  important that she works on
  schoolwork in an area with limited
  distractions and interruptions.
TIPS FOR IMPROVED
CONCENTRATION
 Turn off access to email and games when your child
  works on the computer.
 Declare the phone and TV off-limits during homework
  time.
 Find space that fits the assignment. If your child is
  working on a science project, she may need lots of
  space; if she's studying for a Spanish test, she will
  need a well-lit desk.
 Help your child concentrate during homework time by
  separating her from her siblings.
 DO WHATEVER WORKS FOR YOUR CHILD
4. Flexibility &
   Emotional Control
 Ability to revise plans in the face of
  obstacles, setbacks, new information or
  mistakes.

 Shift directions in the course of a thought
  or action

 The capacity to think before you act

 The ability to keep your cool in the face of
  provocation, fear, & worry
Flexibility & Emotion Strategies
   Teach and model coping strategies
           Relaxation strategies, thought stopping, or attention diversion
            strategies
           It’s ok to make mistakes (self and others)

       Practice Multi-tasking – work with 2 or 3 familiar tasks and rotate
        them at regular intervals

       2 minute warnings to alert student that an activity is ending or
        beginning

       Notify student of changes in routines ahead of time.

       Coach student to make mid-course corrections while thinking,
        reading, and writing

   Martial arts – or other disciplines which emphasize self control
5. Motivation
 Most children say they want to do
  well in school, yet many still fail to
  complete the level of work necessary
  to succeed academically. The reason
  is often motivation. Tapping into your
  child's interests is a great way to get
  him geared to do well in school.
TIPS TO HELP MOTIVATE YOUR
MIDDLE SCHOOLER
 Ask your child what his/her goals are and link
  everything else to their personal goals.

 Link school lessons to your child's life. If he's learning
  percentages, ask him to figure out the price of a
  discounted item next time you shop.

 Link your child's interests to academics. If he's
  passionate about music, give him books about
  musicians and show how music and foreign languages
  are connected.
TIPS TO HELP MOTIVATE YOUR
MIDDLE SCHOOLER

 Give your child control and choices. With guidance, let
  him determine his study hours, organizing system or
  school project topics.

 Encourage your child to share his expertise. Regularly
  ask him about what he's learning in school.

 Congratulate your child, encourage him and celebrate
  all his successes.

 Give student something they can look forward to as
  soon as the task is over (i.m.’ing, Facebook, screens,
  etc.)
PARENTING TIPS
PARENTING TIPS
 Teaching skills is a long term project. BE PATIENT –
  keep your cool

 Try not to make your child be like you – respect your
  differences

 Be available to help your child solve problems

 Communicate optimism “We can solve this problem”

 Praise your child for getting started and working on
  homework
MORE PARENTING TIPS
 Don’t do the homework, write the essay, draw the
  picture, etc. for them

 Check on student occasionally, but not constantly

 Do a complementary activity in the same room while
  they are studying

 Assist them in understanding directions

 Communicate discreetly with teachers
WHEN TO HAVE YOUR CHILD
EVALUATED:
 Inconsistent performance

 Overly “stubborn” or rigid stance

 Difficulties switching between activities &
  thoughts

 Problems with sustaining attention

 Problems with task initiation
WHEN TO HAVE YOUR CHILD
EVALUATED:
   Excessively impulsive; not thinking ahead or thinking about
    consequences

   Social skill problems (appear “delayed” or out of step)

   Homework grades significantly lower than test grades

   Exhibits difficulty with each new grade and struggles to make transition
    each year to next grade level

   Doesn’t seem to “learn from mistakes” or generalize from one task or
    situation to another

   Written work is of poor quality, incomplete or disorganized (because it
    involves keeping track of directions, the physical act of writing, using
    correct mechanics, creating complete sentences, transferring ideas into
    written form, deciding on main ideas, details, flow, etc.)
How are EF’s measured
 In addition to psychometric tests:
   Clinical interview
   Behavioral observations
   Rule out problems in basic sensory,
    motor, and cognitive functioning are
    ruled out (e.g. vision, hearing, memory
    & learning, basic attention, & visual
    spatial skills)
Resources & Strategies
 Agenda books, electronic PDA’s, calendars
  for writing down assignments or
  appointments
 Work with an Educational Therapist

 Other alerting/alarm devices –
  adhdwarehouse.com
 Checklists for routines (i.e. what to do
  before leaving the house, leaving school,
  etc.)
 Develop routines (put away wallet, keys, c-
  phone in same place EVERY day)

				
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