Monday, May 13, 2013

Executive Functioning Development's Window of Opportunity:Birth through Early Adulthood



The brain' synaptic growth and pruning, or  the generation, and self-trimming of synaptic connections in a humans brain is in rampant activity between in-utero, and young adulthood (late 20's). A dual integration of effective instructional delivery, couples with an focused activity curriculum that is novel, emotionally engaging, and sustains the learner's attention is the best way to strengthen these synaptic linkages.

In other words, this kind of development has to be on-going, fun, challenging, and practical, all at the same time. This can be made to look easy by a seasoned professional also. But it is not easy.

In my own 'Coach Bill' executive functioning skills coaching program novelty and challenge can be found in my integration of EF skill refinement activities like metabolic interval training, isometric muscle training, long board surfing, small boat sailing, skiing, ice skating, paddleboarding, swimming, playing tennis, playing chess, role-playing, dance practice, and mindfulness tool practice. With excellent instructional delivery that facilitates positive action, the introduction of new activities is not the hard part, it is in the establishment of a structured, on-going routine on the parental side. Undoubtedly, this homework, as I like to call it, is the bridge that makes everything on-going. Executive Function skills growth is best observed over time, and if there is consistency in the repetition of the routine, and if it is done in such a way that it can render successful outcomes per session.  In other words, the interaction between parent/ coach and learner has to be a nurturing one by which the learner feels comfortable.

All said, how do we balance  making things comfortable and keeping things challenging? Creating a safe, loving environment does not mean that the challenge level should be low. Metabolic interval training is tough stuff, skiing down a hill for a child with autism is incredibly radical and challenging. Doing role-playing that focuses  on relevant issues to the learner is challenging, but it can be done in the confines of a safe learning atmosphere.

Here is a big tip for you free of charge (grumble):

 adherence to effective paraverbal skills (how you say what you say), can do a great deal of the job for the parent/ coach because the feeling being conveyed (forget the words for a moment)... the feeling coming across is.. "I know this is tough, but I am  with you, and we can do this together." Being mindful on how we are coming across can be used as tactical awareness which can help you achieve your short and long term objectives.

All the best,

Coach Bill

For more, go to http://www.CoachBill.US
Twitter.Com @CoachBill007
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