Up Close with the Frontal Lobe – Executive Function Disorder

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Course Description

Course Description:

Executive functioning disorder is prevalent in those with special needs. It is implicit in occupational performance as many health conditions in the pediatric field are commonly associated with impaired executive functioning. The term executive function defines complex cognitive processing requiring the coordination of several sub-processes to achieve a goal. It has been associated with structural and/or functional frontal pathology. Additionally, lower-level processes are regulated by the pre-frontal cortex. Struggles in this area lead to great frustration in all aspects of daily life. As children enter puberty, the frontal cortex begins to mature.  It helps with analysis and successful completion of tasks. Knowing how to organize, plan, adjust, and execute tasks decreases many frustrations and resulting behaviors that can occur. As children become older, successful experiences lead to skill development and a system of problem solving.  It is for this reason that we entrust teens with increasing freedom and deem them competent in those skills required for more independent living.  When a disruption or delay in executive functioning occurs, disorganization, recklessness, or other manifestations of frustration result. If a teen demonstrates difficulties with school projects/assignments, chores, planning long-term projects, using systems for organization, and/or establishing and carrying out long-term goals, he/she may require additional assistance. 

Occupational therapists specialize in structuring activities of daily living for success by formulating a specialized treatment plan. The plan, although tailored to the individual, contains many of the same general ideas and strategies. Upon completion of the program, the audience will list several accommodations for organization and study skills. 

We will discuss how executive functioning entails a set of performance component skills. They are implicit in occupational performance and engagement. Consideration of executive function should be explicitly considered during clinical reasoning. Review of current research will be completed which reveals that executive function processes oversee organized and goal-directed behaviors which enable the individual to self-regulate and exhibit self-control. Also, situational awareness, forethought, and hindsight are the foundational skills for successful task completion. Intervention in targeted areas related to passage of time, organization, and planning skills for children. Domains of executive functions covered in this course include the basic processes of working memory and inhibition and more complex processes such as decision making. Other domains of executive function, including motivation, self-regulation, and social cognition will be reviewed. The population of children with conditions which often exist co-morbidly is aging and strategies must be taught for carrying out long-term goals as well as life skills. It is never too early to teach foundational skills as they must be built upon for successful performance in the workplace. Goal setting and building structured intervention plans will be discussed at length.

Contact Hours: 2
Video Course Format: Video
Target Audience:
Instructional Level: Intermediate