What is Executive Function?
“The executive functions are a set of processes that all have to do with managing oneself and one’s resources in order to achieve a goal. It is an umbrella term for the neurologically-based skills involving mental control and self-regulation.”
Late, Lost, and Unprepared: A Parents’ Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning by Joyce Cooper-Kahn and Laurie Dietzel
What does the above definition mean?
Executive functions help us manage life-skills which are necessary to navigate daily-living all through our life. You need executive functions to plan and get through your day, study for an exam, research a project or plan a holiday. However, organizing is only one of these important skills. Intellectual ability is different from having good executive functions. Very bright children can have weak executive functioning.
- Like other cognitive skills, the executive functions follow a developmental course.
- Development of these important mental control skills is related to both brain maturation and experience (nature and nurture).
- There is considerable variability in the rate at which children develop executive control.
- Intellectual ability is different from executive capacity; very bright children may have weak executive functioning.
- At younger ages, development of basic impulse control and rudimentary planning begins. As children get older, maturation and learning bring more refined skills, including the ability to think and problem-solve more flexibly and to work more efficiently.
From Late, Lost, and Unprepared: A Parents’ Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning by Joyce Cooper-Kahn and Laurie Dietzel