Children’s brains are born with the potential to develop Executive Functions (EF) Skills or the ability to integrate a present awareness with future anticipation and past experience to develop a reasonable plan for present action while accounting for space, time and people (Sarah Ward). Sarah also explains it this way, “EF refers to the way the brain manages, plans, organizes and sets goals to execute and complete tasks in a timely fashion.”
The EF action, for very young children, could simply be the correct response to, “Get your shoes from the bedroom.” At a little older age, the action could be, the ability to bring papers from school to home and back, successfully. A little older age, the action could become multifaceted and be to successfully get ready for school, accomplishing all the required tasks, with all the necessary things needed for the school day, packed and ready to leave or begin school on time.
Executive Function Skills are managed in the prefrontal cortex of the brain or the upstairs brain. If the child functions most often from the primitive brain (the amygdala), or the downstairs brain, EF Skills are not granted the opportunity to develop, naturally. Often this lack of development of the prefrontal cortex, or EF Skills deficits, lead to diagnoses such as ADHD, ADD and the like.
Children who have not been exposed to the needed and appropriate interactions with parents or caregivers or experienced rich learning environments to ensure the development of appropriate EF Skills, naturally, can be taught them. It is never too late to teach EF Skills, even to adults. However, they are best learned as visual, non-verbal, input. A visual representation of the completed task, helps the brain to develop the pathways necessary to execute the needed steps to accomplish that task.
Children coming from “hard places”, institutions, multiple placements, early trauma experiences, etc., most often need direct training for developing EF Skills. More and more children, exposed to a variety of continual technologies are also finding their EF Skills needing to be learned or at least honed.
We have found Sarah Ward’s trainings for developing EF Skills to be the most comprehensive, the most practical and the most visually stimulating and understood by all ages. Sarah’s vast experiences in her own family and her vocational experiences have created a passion within to see children and adults grow their EF Skills and become highly functioning, successful individuals in families and society.
If you have an opportunity to attend a training by Sarah Ward, do it! It will be life-changing for you and for those you love and serve.
Executive Function 101