Full Course Description
Modules 1-8: Enhancing Executive Function: Going Beyond the Prefrontal Cortex
Principles of Executive Function
- Attention and sustained focus
- Engagement and initiation
- Optimization and monitoring
- Efficiency and sequencing
- Memory storage and retrieval
- Inquiry and analyzing
- Solution and organization
- Holarchical Model of EF
Levels of the Whole Person
- Physical – movement, posture and anatomy
- Breath and physiological systems
- Intellect – cognition, self-expression and sensory
- Personality – preferences, values and behaviors
- Emotional tone and the subjective
- Brain development & autonomic nervous system (ANS)
- Pruning and the use it or lose it principle
- Vagus nerve’s relation to physical and emotional effects
Effects of Stress on EF
- The effect on neural networks
- Cortisol and fight/flight effect on the brain
- The differences between fear and anxiety
- Getting to the basis of anger and frustration
The Gut Brain
- Enteric nervous system: the “second brain”
- Neurotransmitters in the gut that affect mood
- The ADHD-gut connection
- Enhance mood and memory through nutrition
- 3 developmental levels of regulation
- Swings effect on the Reticular Activating System
- Adjustments in sensory input to create balance
- Calm the sympathetic nervous system thru sensory input
Strategies to Develop Healthy Habits
- Using your mind to change your brain
- The power of thought and visualization
- Routines and steps to build habits
- Method of enhancing neurogenesis and neuroplasticity
Yoga, Mindfulness and Meditation Principles
- Mind-body-breath connection
- Yoga poses for self-regulation
- Interoception to build deeper self-awareness
- The power of the pause
Breath and Regulation Techniques
- Using breath to affect arousal levels
- Increasing and decreasing heart rate and blood pressure
- Supports movement and posture
- Techniques for focus, delayed gratification and processing in the pause
Sensory Processing Strategies
- Using the sensory systems to promote self-regulation and calm the sympathetic nervous system
- A look at rhythmicity and touch as factors in enhancing EF
- Learning requirements for memory
- Emotion-motivation connection
- Intrinsic motivation to enhance processing
- The driving force of optimism and hope
- How multi-tasking is counter-productive
- Strategies that support focus and recall
Putting the pause on Impulsivity
- Marshmallows: the importance of learning to wait
- Anti-rush therapy to promote waiting
- Do-overs to teach healthy alternatives
Self-Generation and Self-Determination
- Promote delayed gratification, self-monitoring, task initiation, emotional control
- Supporting persistence to stick with dull and challenging activities
- Allowing time for processing, planning and self-correction
Strategies for Healthy Social Connections:
- Using the whole self as a therapeutic tool: emotion, modeling and positioning
- The power of relationship in therapeutic effectiveness
- Cuing and facilitation to promote participation, engagement and increased independence
- Teaching tolerance and other awareness
Treatment Strategies for Challenging Emotions
- Decreasing stress to facilitate EF
- Understanding fear, as the basis for many challenging emotions
- Using the teachable-moment “failures”
- Explore challenges in executive function through integrative techniques and a whole person perspective.
- Explain the significance of brain development and the autonomic nervous system on executive functioning.
- Apply effective yoga poses that create alertness and those that calm and facilitate focus.
- Explore the mindfulness – meditation continuum and how to use these techniques to enhance executive functioning.
- Identify breath-related strategies that support self-regulation.
- Describe the gut-brain connection and how it can affect executive functioning.
- Explain the emotion-motivation-attention-memory connection and how to facilitate toward learning and recall.
- List strategies to develop healthy habits and self-discipline.
- Explore strategies to get around the “shut-down” effect that stress and anxiety play on EF.
- Describe 2 new techniques that diminish impulsive behaviors and facilitate delayed gratification.
- Describe a new perspective of therapeutic use of self and the environment to help promote healthy social connections.
- Identify strategies to help your client learn to take more ownership of their own well-being.
BONUS! Improving Executive Functions: Strategies to Rewire the Brain and Change Behavior
Executive Functions (EF) Overview
- The neuropsychology of Executive Functions
- Levels, domains of functioning, arenas of involvement
- A closer look at the self-regulation level:
- 7 clusters encompassing 33 functions
- EF development over time
- EFs, DSM 5® diagnoses, educational classifications
Develop an Intervention Plan: Assessment of EF Strengths and Weaknesses
- A multidimensional model to guide assessment
- Norm referenced tests, rating scales and diagnostic interviewing
- Assessing the impact of EF difficulties on academic learning and production
- Learning difficulties versus producing difficulties
- EF-driven Functional Behavior Assessment
Strategies for EF Development and EF Difficulties
- Create an environment for positive change
- Develop and use growth mindsets
- The EF intervention continuum
- Orienting strategies that focus on goals and outcomes
- External strategies for modifying behavior: Cueing, prompting and thinking aloud
- Bridging strategies from externally controlled to internally self-regulated
- Internally self-regulated strategies: Strengthen independent functioning
Evidence-based Programs and Resources to Foster Growth
- Develop EFs in pre-school and kindergarten
- Problem-solving models and programs
- Cognitive strategy instruction and cognitive behavior therapy
- Technology-based approaches
- Mindfulness techniques and EF growth
- Examine a comprehensive neuropsychological model of executive functions.
- Communicate how executive function difficulties are manifested in individuals diagnosed with various psychological disorders and/or enrolled in special education programs.
- Apply effective assessment techniques based on a multidimensional framework to determine executive function strengths and weaknesses and to target specific intervention needs.
- Determine strategies that are appropriate for fostering executive function development and/or for intervening when executive function difficulties are identified.
- Implement strategies that bridge the gap between “external control” and “internal self-regulation”.
- Determine and access sources of information about evidence-based programs that foster executive function development and/or remediate difficulties.