Friday, October 12, 2012

executive functions

Ever heard that term?  It has to do with higher order processing in the brain, and it’s responsible for things like:

  • Working memory and recall (holding facts in mind while manipulation information; accessing facts stored in long-term memory)
  • Activation, arousal, and effort (getting started; paying attention; finishing work)
  • Controlling emotions (ability to tolerate frustration; thinking before acting or speaking)
  • Internalizing language (using ‘self-talk’ to control one’s behavior and direct future actions)
  • Complex problem solving (taking an issue apart, analyzing the pieces, reconstituting and organizing it into new ideas)
  • Shifting, inhibiting (changing activities; stopping existing activities; stopping and thinking before speaking or acting)
  • Organizing/planning ahead (organizing time, projects, materials, and possessions)
  • Monitoring (self-monitoring and prompting)

It’s one of those places where we see clearly the developmental delays Logan has. Executive functions are a struggle for him.  All day…every day.   Frankly, I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult life must be for him, being unable to hear clearly and dealing with delays in all of those areas.  It’s no wonder we’re all frequently frustrated!

Tomorrow, I am headed to Seattle Children’s for an all day symposium on “Executive Functions in Deaf/Hard of Hearing Children.”  Sponsored by the  Childhood Communication Center and hosted by Logan’s FABULOUS ENT (ear/nose/throat doctor), it is another amazing opportunity for us (me!) to learn more methods to help Logan.  A couple years ago I attended a different symposium on literacy and language development in deaf/hard of hearing children, and it was fantastic.   I have to be there at 8AM tomorrow, but that’s okay.  It’s a good thing I’m a morning person.  New tools for our box!!  Each item helps, and we’re seeing slow but steady improvement in our guy.  (He even picked up a book and read me some words yesterday!!)

I’m sure there will be fascinating things learned tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to it, and I’m certain that I will post exciting new knowledge and insights soon.  Smile

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