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Brain smart vs Brain stuck

Executive functions in the brain and how they work

· Brain Mind

Challenges for learners with impairment in their Executive Functions

Executive functions (EF) refers to the brains ability to control communication between various areas of the brain. EF manage how we organise, plan, adjust, how we initiate and carry out task in life.

Organization refers not only to how we manage our things ( papers, pack our bag, clean up our room) but also how we sort and store information and how we maintain these routines.

Individuals who have challenges in this aspect may experience

 Lack of awareness of assignments  Seem to loose things
 Messy room or bag
 Unable to manage school work

Time Management refers to how we generally understand, manage the temporal passage of time and space.

Individuals who have difficulties with time management may experience

 Turning up late for appointments
 Alway being rush to move
 Trouble completing homework
 Poor choices about how to spend time  Procrastinate

Planning refers to how we lay out and among everything that we need to do in our lives and school work. How we manage the bits and pieces of information and relate to them.

Individuals who have difficulty planing may experience

 Lack of a way to track work, tasks and activities
 Choosing to do less important thing and op for fun instead  Difficulty with long term projects or assignments
 Overwhelmed with the amount of work
 Difficulty with writing assignment

Task Analysis refers to how we look at and break down task into doable steps, how we decide what needs to be done and how we go about carrying out the task and completing them.

Individuals who have difficulty with task analysis may experience

 Unable to start making plans
 Trouble breaking down or processing information
 Get stuck in the first step of the action plan
 Needs lots of reminders to start and stay on task
 Resist asking for help or resist offer of help when given  Reacting emotionally when told

Interrelatedness of information refers to how we take large amounts of information and integrate and apply the information in other contexts.

Individuals who have difficulty with study skills and academics may experience

 Overwhelmed by amount of work to complete or study
 Study but still receive poor results
 Poor study skills
 Feeling frustrated and complaining how difficulty the subjects can be  Struggles with note taking or how to make them

Attention, Focus and working memory refers to our ability to hold attention on tasks, conversations and what is going on around us in addition to processing or actually thinking about what we are processing.

Individual who have difficulty attending or with working memory may experience

 Trouble sitting or working long periods of time
 Easily distracted and zone out
 Forgets multi steps instructions as soon as it was given
 Makes careless mistakes
 Missing important announcements about due dates, homework assignments

Self regulation refers to how aware we are about ourselves and managing our goals and expectations. When faced with challenges or blockages, the individual has the ability to be persistence and reach the intended goals.

Individuals who have difficulty regulating may experience

 Resist taking on responsibility
 Shift blames to others
 Finishes first draft with little time to review
 Does not adjust quality of work when suggestion are discussed and made

Behaviour and Emotional Regulation refers to how we manage and carry ourselves as well as how we adjust and respond to others and situations

Individuals who have difficulty with behaviour and emotions may experience

 Interrupts and blurts out responses
 Jumps to conclusions
 Acts out verbally or physically when upset
 Can be inflexible, rigid has difficulty dealing with change  Overreacts to small situations
 Trouble with perceived fairness or unfairness
 Difficulty with social cues
 Difficult self soothing or calming
 Often in tears or seem down

Have you come across these impairment of EF in the learner? The good news is ... the Feuerstein's method being applied has been shown to address and help bring awareness to the manner the learnrt receives information, make meanings of them and then relate the information so that it can be understood.

The gap in EF impairment can be bridged. Have faith because there is hope.